September 19, 2012
A family in grief chooses life
(Page 3 - Previous Page)
There was also one piece of advice that Ivonne resisted. People told her that true healing would happen if she had another baby.
“I didn’t want more kids. She was a miracle, she was perfect,” Ivonne said. “It was so hard for me to hear the idea that one baby could replace another baby. It made me very angry.”
But, slowly, Daniel warmed to the idea and over time Ivonne began to hear him.
“I remember thinking, I trust you, and I need to trust you because I want to survive, and I want to live again,” Ivonne said.
Michael was born on March 3, 2009.
Ivonne said that her commitment to Talia and Ilan was what initially made her want to live again, and Mikey’s birth brought in new energy.
“Every single minute with Michael has been like a remedy for each one of us. One hundred percent. I think that is what is behind everyone saying, ‘Have another baby’ — it brings the force of life back into your life,” Ivonne said.
The family tells Mikey all about the sister he never knew. He associates bubbles with Ariela, because the family has a stash of bubble bottles from memorial events.
The Goldbergs have also kept Ariela as a living presence in their family through photos and stories.
“She continues to be our daughter even though she is no longer here physically, and we love her as much as we love each one of our children,” Daniel said.
On Ariela’s yahrzeit this year, Ilan chanted a portion of Torah at Camp Ramah in her honor, and his friends stood up with him when he said Kaddish.
Talia keeps a big picture of her sister right on her desk. Ivonne said just looking at Talia brings Ariela back to her.
It’s on Friday nights that Ariela is most present with the family.
Ariela used to love the rituals before the Shabbat meal, in particular the hand washing, and always chimed in with “amen.” So, they look at a picture of her on the wall by the sink and remember her amens. And every Friday night, when Daniel puts his hands on each of his children’s heads and recites the priestly blessing, he blesses Ariela as well.
For Ivonne, just looking at her family makes her feel lucky to be alive, she said, and grateful to have so much joy and so many options ahead.
“Life is the strongest thing. There is nothing stronger than that,” Ivonne said. “The life in my children’s eyes is stronger than the death of my daughter.
“Life is stronger than death.”