August 2010


During the year after someone’s passing, there are lots of firsts. Some of “the firsts” that have been significant for me are the first time grocery shopping (Herschel did most of that); the first trip – knowing he wasn’t at home waiting for me; the first holiday alone, and the first birthdays. And in a few days, there will be another “first” – our wedding anniversary. Or, more correctly, what would have been our wedding anniversary.

Almost six short years ago, Herschel and I married on 20 Elul, corresponding that year to Labor Day, September 6. We joked that we observed significant events in our courtship only on legal holidays: we became engaged on Independence Day and married on Labor Day. The joke still gives me a giggle – yet also brings up sadness. There’s no wedding anniversary to celebrate this Labor Day. This year there are only memories of the celebration that was.

Digging deeper into myself, I recall the “cloud nine” feeling. Our wedding was an incredibly joyous event for us and for all the folks who celebrated with us. Our happiness radiated throughout the wedding hall. Our dancing was so lively that we certainly got our athletic workout that day! As one young friend said, “I’m younger than you and could barely keep up with you and your friends!”

Then each year, Herschel and I would celebrate the anniversary – sometimes twice: the Hebrew date and September 6. We went out to dinner and exchanged gifts. Our gifts weren’t necessarily creative (gift cards to our favorite stores) – yet the exchange was heartfelt. I didn’t know that last year would be the last time we would do this exchange.

So this is another “first” – the first wedding anniversary without my husband. Will I celebrate it? Will I commemorate the day? And if so, how? I don’t have answers to these questions. I simply continue to pray that Herschel is in his rightful place in The Garden.

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Early on in my career search, I often heard, “turn over every stone.” The phrase made sense to me. As a kid, I had taken part in many nature scavenger hunts where we literally turned over every stone to find the clues. So I understood this metaphor to mean tell everyone I knew I was searching for something. Share the information with everyone meant exactly that – all family members, friends, the hairdresser, grocery cashiers, people in the line at the bank, and anyone else I could think of.

Over time, I stopped hearing this phrase, and forgot about it. Concepts like “network,” “use social media,” and other technologically oriented terms are prevalent now. Yet, recently, I remembered the phrase, “turn over every stone,” and applied it to my life.

While searching for new living quarters, I mentioned to each manager/landlord/owner that I was looking for employment. I described the types of positions I would consider. One day, a long-time friend called me because she had heard I was back in town. She had an opening in her office and wanted to know if I’d like to work with her. How had she heard? Through the owner of a place I was considering! (No, I didn’t take the apartment, however, yes, we are going to work together!)

Turn over every stone…I like that phrase. It has a natural (pun intended), calm sound.