Hearts Torn

The balance of my world has been off since Gilad left us. Nothing feels right; so much is askew. And now Judah is gone, too.

Our hearts are rent and torn, ripped to their core either by loss or physical malfunction. But how both can happen within days of each other is mind-boggling and puts voice to life’s existential questions, and the the dearth of answers often outweigh logic, joy, sanity. Gd may be orchestrating all of this, but I cannot even begin to approach why He is dealing so many heavy blows at once, testing not only our limits of faith and human endurance but our spirits. I am left feeling more boggled in the mind than usual, and we are spent beyond normal human tolerance.

There are many ways a heart can break, and losing a child is a wrenching and twisting of the heart and soul like no other experience. Before the brain can process what is transpiring, the heart is already weeping, breaking at a loss that speaks to a depth that is more animal than human.

Logic folds on itself, reversing the very nature of the cycle of the world. Bringing a child into this world is magical, hopeful, and is an arrow to the ego and heart of trust, the ability to nurture and leave a footprint of a better version of oneself behind. But more than the basic task of procreating, it is the both the ultimate and the most basic way to unselfishly give, offer love, and literally help grow another human being by supporting,  giving,  mirroring,  negotiating,  weeping,  assessing, reconsidering,  improving,  disappointing, laughing,  sighing,  loving. All of that and more.

And when the relationship ends with the child exiting exiting this world first, sometimes the only reaction is a visceral howl that neither words nor tears can properly capture.

But to have tragedy find a family not once but twice makes me want to interrogate Gd in a manner that is more vicious than I am. Our losses are so different, but 2 boys, cousins, grandsons are gone. My sister and family simply should not be in this pain, and my heart breaks and weeps and breaks again for the loss of sweet, beautiful Judah and for my sister’s heartache and her family’s void. This is not the age of famine or war or high mortality rates, yet my mother has helped both her daughters bury their sons. The grief is immense.

And then, a slight degree of movement of plaque in the heart is yet another pathway to catastrophe, although Eddie managed through chest pain, nausea, shortness of breath, jaw pain and profuse sweating to save his own life by calling not his wife – he calls me for everything tiny thing- but the professionals at 911 who kept him alive for me, for us.

I am drained, but there are people to care for, so I muster on. My husband needs me through his recuperation, and I believe I will carry a new fear about him for the rest of my days. And there is his aging mother, my mother-in-law, who needs a tremendous amount of care and management of her health that no one else can provide; Eddie’s sister is in Mexico and is not physically or emotionally present. Then there is my mother, who is quite independent and healthy, but is suffering from grief and why would I neglect the one person who taught me to love and nurture?  She has made me swear not to worry about her, and I agreed, as long as she feigns not to worry about me, either. And of course, my heart looks out for my children and grandchildren with each beat and breath.

Other than loving my sister, I am uncertain what to do for Nina, but I know she will forge her own path as she always brilliantly does. I wish I could hug away the pain for Gabe and Missy, make it disappear for Dara and Eric, and smother it with love for Ben. But if wishes were to come true we would not be here…

How many ways can a heart be wounded, torn and broken? There are many, my friends. There are too many to count.

Shabbat Shalom.


2 thoughts on “Hearts Torn

  1. Michelle, my loving dear Michelle,…..your words are, each and every one of them, a pure gem. You are able to tell what u want to, in such a way, surpassed by no one! Pain is something we all suffer….each in his/her own way. You somehow know what to say and how to say it. I feel sad and unhappy that my family has to suffer so much. But u are all strong (genes from your father), and somehow we will have to adjust. Thank u for never yelling at me. Whether or not u want to, I really do not know. But u never do. You are so kind and loving. May Gd bring to you and all your loving family, peace and all the things in life you/we all need. At the top of the list is good health!! and second, third and fourth is also good health. Much love, your mom

  2. My heart goes out to you as I read your gut-wrenching words of loss. I am so sorry for Nina and your family to have to bury two children. It’s an unspeakable tragedy. I pray that Eddie is recuperating well and you can find peace in the midst of this painful and chaotic world.

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