11 years ago this week, I met my late husband. Chanukah time was always an unofficial happy dating anniversary for us. It is a time I naturally get reminiscent. All of our dates I remember freezing cold weather in the rain. Somehow it didn’t bother us quite that much.
I haven’t written in a while because I honestly haven’t felt very connected to a high place. After the initial shock, hospital time, and funeral, the meaning of everything was so clear, vivid and elevated. You may not believe me, but I had the same feeling sitting on my shiva chair as I did sitting on my kalla chair at my wedding giving brachos. The same divine energy was coming through me; I was just in between those who greeted me and the message being sent from Above. When my late husband’s soul left his body, I felt touched by the Shechina, along with everyone in the room. I felt that I had a tiny glimpse into Olam HaEmes and this clarity of sight brought me through so much of the first weeks. After the shloshim, a lot of fog and muck of daily life set in.
Now what? No more articles. No more new hidden chesed or tzaddik stories. No more fanfare. No more new mitzvos being taken on for his soul. No more people changing their lives. Now what?
I still ask myself that question and in fact often get vertigo (that sensation scuba divers often get underwater when they don’t know which way is up). I just know that Hashem wants me to go forward now and continue. My husband always led his life by the Torah principle that Hashem leads you in the way that you want to go. So I usually just start with trying to align my will with Hashem’s Will, even if I don’t know where that goes, and I know that He will lead me there eventually if I am honest about it.
But the way has been dark for me for a while. There has been no inspiration – just a lot of to do’s. I find myself ducking that dreadful yet seemingly normal question on the streets – “how are you?”. How am I? I am walking right now, how are you? Answering the question requires an emotional check which brings up the pain at often very inappropriate times. Functioning normally in a crowd is quite tricky. But when people skip the how are you question and go straight to the ‘I can’t imagine what you are going through and I am so sorry’ or give a compliment, I do truly appreciate it and it helps me to carry the load.
We are all carrying the load that Adam and Chava left us with and that will please G-d take us speedily into the Beis Hamikdash – Mashiach days!
So, tonight as I sat sick in bed and listened to one of my first Torah classes, I felt closer for the first time in a while. As I paced my living room, I decided to re-frame my story. I want to tell the saga from an angle that hasn’t yet been told. Many years ago in shamayim, my soul was offered the following:
Hashem: “Batya, I have a great guy for you. He is a ba’al middos, yarei shamayim, good-looking, tall, ambitious. You and he will build a great and exciting life, together reaching amazing spiritual heights and have five (k’nayna hara) children. In the marriage, he will actualize himself, create a beautiful Olam Haba and become a hidden tzaddik. Then, after ten years, when you least expect it, I will take him from you suddenly and you will be left with his legacy to carry on. But, I will give you plenty of physical, emotional and spiritual help from multitudes who love you both.”
Batya: “Thank you Hashem, I accept.”
Today, I asked myself this question again. If G-d came to me to offer this full package again, what would I say?
I realized that my soul would accept. So, I hereby renew my commitment/vows to you Hashem, as difficult as the plight may be.
I love you all and couldn’t do this without you.
Blessings from Jerusalem,