When Everything Broke

While I was uttering the words of Psalms, heartfelt prayers in my heart and on my lips far away from home on a sunny morning in France, the one thought I knew deep in my mind was “G-d wouldn’t.”
I knew, so solidly, that everything would be okay. That Hindi would come back from this. That soon our family would be discussing the huge miracle that occurred.
I knew it.
And then in one sickening moment, everything broke.
I didn’t believe the words I was reading. For hours afterward I waited for someone to say it was a mistake. That it wasn’t true. That everything wasn’t destroyed.
I consistently and constantly use words to express myself, but this time there weren’t any. Like being socked in the stomach, I couldn’t breathe, let alone write or speak. Only silence felt suitable in the wake of such an immense tragedy.
And so, I was silent.
For the first time all year, I missed writing a weekly blog post.
Every other time, I couldn’t justify breaking my commitment, I couldn’t allow myself to let a week go by without forcing myself to write something.
But when G-d kicks you in the gut, nothing matters anymore.
There were no words. I didn’t want to create words. I didn’t want to be a part of this tragedy, I didn’t want to raise my voice, I didn’t want to hear my words echo in such a cruel world.
And as I sit here, writing with tears in my eyes, wearing a dress and heels I’m trying on for a friends wedding I’ll be at next week, reality makes less sense to me than it ever has.
G-d took a mother from her children. A wife from her husband. A daughter, a sister, an aunt from her family, a teacher from her students.
Someone whom I’ve always, always admired.
In a world of false realities, Hindi was real.
She didn’t know how to work social media, she was all about honesty and truth.
The meals I shared with her and her family at her parent’s house I always remember so fondly, even before this horrible tragedy. She was quick to include me in conversation, ask me honest questions and listen, oh so well.
In a world of distraction, Hindi was here.
In a world of easy ways out, Hindi worked so hard to achieve her dreams.
Her babies are now left to grow up without her – how? They are surrounded by so much support and love, but nothing on earth can replace a mother.
As I take my next steps in life, I wish I could have spoken to her sooner about how to do it all. How to have the family and the career, how to maneuver the education system, how to bring positive change to the world, how to raise children to be open-minded and intuitive. But I missed my chance. I missed my chance to tell her how much I’ve admired her. I missed my chance to ask all my questions.
A part of me is broken, and always will be.
These things don’t go away. There will always be hard-hitting reminders about this new ugly reality we live in.
And for a long time, there will be so many moments that it feels like there is no air to breathe.
G-d knows what He did. Somewhere deep inside me, I believe His tears are mixed with ours. As I cry into my pillow, furious with Him, I desperately pray that He knows enough is enough.

It’s Been 5 Years

Five years.
Five years since I last saw my Bubby, laying in the hospital, my tears falling on her cheek as I said goodbye.
Five years.
Five years since I laughed with her, shared my stories with her, discussed what was happening in the world with her.
Five years.
Five years ago I was only five years younger, but it feels like so much more.
They say time heals, and it’s true. It does. These days, I can think about my Bubby without tears falling. I can talk about her without my voice cracking. I can even visit her without my heart feeling like it is going to climb out of my chest.
It’s taken five years.
Yet, time does not return. Time creates distance. Time deepens the chasm. Time is cruel.
Because as I grow older, I yearn for Bubby more. I wish for her to be around to chat with. As I grow older, I realize how much more I would be able to appreciate her as the adult I am turning into, and I am broken hearted that G-d couldn’t allow that to happen.
It hurts my soul to know that the last time we spoke, I was only in my second year of high school. It was before I switched schools. It was before I graduated. It was before my first job, or my second job, before my blog, before so, so much growth.
It hurts, even more, to look forward into the future and see the space grow, the time build a deeper distance.
As I take steps into my future, as I begin to see the faint outlines of my story, it breaks my heart that Bubby is not a main character.
I know, it is blasphemous to say these things. I know that I should be a voice of bravery and hope. A conviction to the belief that we will be reunited very soon because the alternative is unthinkable.
But it’s hard.
It’s hard to be in the unthinkable and to be able to imagine a world where the pain is a bygone memory.
As I look into my future and think about the idea of my future husband and children not getting a chance to get to know my Bubby, it is a harsh reality that meets my eyes.
Because I have her inside of me, I have the memories, I have her smile in my mind’s eye, but how will they have it? How will they know who I come from? How will they know who they come from? How will they understand the level of privilege that comes with being one of my grandmother’s descendants?
It is up to the living to ensure that although Bubby is missing from the family photos, she is not gone. It is up to her children and grandchildren to make sure she is a continued part of the every-day conversation. It is up to those of us who knew my Bubby to ensure that her legacy stays alive, that she is emulated in our actions, thoughts, and behavior.
That is what our future will build their foundation on.
It’s been 5 years.
They say that time heals, yet it seems like the healing is often the most painful part.
Blog Post: 11/52

Featured Photo by Julien Laurent on Unsplash