It's been a hard day for me. It's a hard time for me now. Now that my brother's yartzheit is coming closer, I think about him a lot. Some days I'm okay, some days I try to be and some days I just can't fight the emotions inside of me.
So I call my mother. I know it must be hard for her too...and I just want to talk to someone who is there with me...who can feel the pain together with me.
But my mother's response to whatever I tell her is not what I expect. She is so full of strength...when all I can do is cry.
She starts saying things to try to give me chizuk. Things that blow my mind away.
I have to stay strong for all of you. If I would have crumbled, the whole family would have fallen apart. And she's right. She is our pillar. She holds us all together. She is the one who keeps the entire family from going under.
Then she tells me about how she davened. She says, I never told you this? She repeated this to so many people that it's hard to keep track of who she said what to...and that her own daughter never heard this part.
My brother was niftar a week and a day after tisha b'av.The year he passed away, when it was time for Shabbos Mevorchim Rosh Chodesh Av, my mother davened so extra hard, with such strength and passion, begging Hashem to let the nine days pass without any tragedies and that everyone should be okay and stay safe. This is the part I knew about. But what she said last night...brought tears to my eyes...and they started flowing and wouldn't stop.
She said...I felt like Hashem gave Shalom an extra week. We were so lucky to have him. He was such an extraordinary child. He loved to do chessed. He loved to help other people. He was so mature for his age. Which boy his age loves to help the way he did? He was a gift. I am so grateful to Hashem for all the time we had with him....and for putting such a special child in our family.
For me...this makes me cry. An extra week?? My mother is strengthened and I'm just crying. I think...yes, he was such an exceptional child. But why did we have to lose him? I cry because I'm in pain...and because I miss him...and because I want him back.
Then she tells me how Shalom finished his tafkid. How he was put down in this world to accomplish something...and how he did accomplish that something. And how now, now he's in gan eden. He is happy.
He is happy. But I still cry. I continue crying. My mother continues speaking...trying again to comfort me and help me see the good. I don't see good. I just feel pain. I know deep down that this is for the good...and I don't understand how this is good or why it had to happen.
She tells me how lucky she feels to have three grandchildren who are named after Shalom. Lucky? It hurts. It makes it more real when someone carries on his name. But she gathers strength from these things. Because she sees it as a gift. Every child is a gift. Each of her children are something to be grateful for. And to have a grandchild with the same name as her special child gives her comfort...comfort in knowing and hoping they will follow in his footsteps.
My mother is strong. I hope one day I too will have such strength and be able to feel all the things I know are true but bring so much pain to my heart when I think about them. One day, I will think about my brother and it wont hurt so much. I'll be able to feel comforted in the fact that Hashem put him into this world for the amount of time He did and we were lucky to have him. That he is in a good place. That he accomplished what he was supposed to. All the things I know in my head but I don't yet feel in my heart. Slowly, the gap between my mind and heart will get smaller and narrower and I'll be able to really FEEL the things that I know are true.
But until then...I just feel sad.
Until then, I just want my brother back.
Until then, I will try to gather strength from my mother's words...and hope that they can strengthen me too.
One day...I'll get there.