This year, I have another reason to be thankful (and sad...a little bit) because a little over a year ago, I was zoche to have a son and name him after my brother. We named him Shalom Baruch -Shalom was after my brother a"h and we added the name Baruch. It was very hard and emotional but at the same time it was comforting.
It was hard because I could just imagine how close my brother would be with my little son - he was so good with kids and he loved all the nieces and nephews. They would have been such good friends! I can just imagine Shalom a"h scooping up my baby and giving him a huge hug and kiss with the biggest smile on his face. But, it was not meant to be.
It was hard because naming my son after my brother a"h made it even more real in a deeper sense. It made it more concrete - that Shalom a"h is not alive and we are naming someone after him.
And I miss him.
But it was comforting. It made me feel so good to be able to name my child after my special brother. It gives some sort of closure in a way that makes me feel lucky that I was able to have a child that will carry on my brother's name. I want my little SB to know all about the things that made Shalom a"h so special so that he can try to follow in his footsteps.
Every year, when I get to the yartzheit, it's as if I get my own personal reminder that life is short. That I must take advantage of the time I have now and use my time wisely. That a person never knows when their last day will be and so they should take advantage of the time they have here and use every moment to the fullest.
We live in a fast-paced world. Cell phones and the internet make people so much easier to reach - text messaging, IM'ing, everything moves so quickly. We need to take a moment to STOP and think about where we are headed. We need to think about how we can use our time to accomplish and improve ourselves.
The internet is such a huge time-waster. You sit down at the computer to "just check your emails" and before you turn around, it's already so late and you wonder, "where did all that time go?"!! Because one thing leads to the next and someone sent you an email with a link and then you were on another site and remembered something else you wanted to do and you just get caught in this web (literally!) and slowly the clock just ticks (or maybe not so slowly) and then it's too late because you can't go back in time. And instead of using your time productively, you may have instead spent it browsing and shopping and reading things online...when instead you could have used your time for other things - like helping your family, spending time with friends (real time, not internet - chatting time!!), reading books, developing any talents you might have!!
There are so many things to learn from Shalom a"h - some messages you can take from this day is: Use your time wisely. Think of ways to make others happy. Go out of your way to do an extra chessed each day. Feel your neshama with soul-food every so often by getting inspiration.
And can I ask you a favor? If there's anything you can do l'ilui nishmas my brother, can you leave a comment letting me know that you did/will do something for him? It will really make a difference in my day tomorrow and comfort me - because I will know that he was not forgotten and that his neshama is going even higher and higher.
His name is Shalom ben Chaim Nosson.