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October 27, 2010

A Sister’s Loss, A Daughter’s Compassion, A Son’s Fear, Life and Death

http://www.jewishjournal.com/blog/item/a_sisters_loss_a_daughters_compassion_a_sons_fear_life_and_death_20101027/

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My mother’s sister passed away yesterday.  She had been ill, and even though we knew we would lose her, she had hung on for so long we thought it was possible she would be okay.  My mother is one of eight children and my aunt Sarah was the youngest.

I loved Sarah.  She was not much older than me and we were good friends.  I was born in Israel and left when I was two.  When I returned at 18, Sarah and I spent a lot of time together.  She lived in Beer Sheva, where I was born, and where she grew up.

She was married with two young daughters and was a diabetic her entire life.  Diabetes had robbed her of sight and her legs, but she was a strong lady who always put her children first.  They are wonderful little girls and it is devastating to have lost their mother.

I am going to miss her and remember her always.  When my mother called to tell me of her passing, she was distraught.  She kept saying my baby sister, my baby sister.  I cannot imagine what it must be like to lose a sibling and this is the third one my mother has lost.

My mother losing her sister breaks my heart, as my mother’s heart is broken.  I never think about my mother passing away.  I am certain she will live to be 300 years old and never leave me.  When we spoke I wanted to take away all of her sorrow and ease her pain.

It was as though I was the mother, comforting my child.  I wonder if Sarah knew how much my mother loved her, if my mother knows how much I love her, or if my son will ever fully understand how much I love him.  For my son, my aunt’s death is a scary thing.

If his great aunt can die, and she was younger than his grandmother, then is it possible that his grandmother could also pass away now?  If I am younger than my mother, as Sarah was, could I pass away?  Do we spend so much time teaching our kids about life, we forget about death?

It’s hard to know what to tell your kids about death, especially when they are young.  When my dad passed away I told my young son that when he felt wind on his face it was grandpa blowing him kisses.  All these years later, when it’s windy, he will always say “Hello Grandpa”.

My son is a wise soul.  He feels tremendous sorrow about loss but is able to hold memories close to his heart and be grateful for time with people he loved.  He is both my student and my teacher as I learn a lot about life, and death, through the eyes of my child.

I love my mother and I tell her everyday.  I love my son and tell him every second.  The last thing I said to my Aunt Sarah was that I loved her.  Those are blessings.  I look forward to holding my mother’s hand at my son’s wedding and for that day I will forever keep the faith.

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