November 2011


Anniversaries. The word conjures up joy and excitement, images of flowers and balloons – in short, a fun day celebrating a happy event.

Not always.

Thursday, 5 Kislev 5772 (in the Hebrew calendar) is the second anniversary of my husband’s passing. It’s not a fun day; there’s no joy, and I’m not excited.

Quite the opposite.

This type of anniversary is sobering as it marks the finality of life in this world. There’s no more potential for growth. There’s no more potential for what life together may have been.

We’re on our separate paths.

Anniversaries.  Often they are fun-filled, exciting days. Sometimes they mark difficult events. Regardless of the tone of the day, we always move forward.

On the path that’s set for us.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

This past fall, Israel Bookshop published Riding the Waves, ed. by Tamar Ansh. I merited to have the story of how Herschel and I met appear in that book (“Midwest Meets West”). May the story inspire others and may it be a merit for the elevation of Herschel Avraham ben Simcha Yosef’s soul.

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We’re in Fall, past Daylight Savings Time, and headed toward Winter. It’s dark. The nights are long (they start around 5PM). What can we learn from the dark, long nights?

Maybe it’s time to hunker down, stay warm, and rest up – like the bears.

Maybe there’s more family time – for games, and sitting by the fire (gas-lit or otherwise).

Maybe it’s a time to regroup after an active Spring and Summer.

Maybe we can focus inward and explore what is really important to us.

 

What do you learn from the dark, long nights?

Telephone technology is great! The timing is exquisite! I’ve spent the day connecting with long-time friends in different parts of the U.S. I haven’t spoken with some of these friends in six months or a year – we had a lot of material to cover! I enjoyed laughing, giggling, and sometimes sighing with them. Even though some parts of the conversations revealed serious challenges, we were able to encourage and strengthen each other. I’m grateful I have friends who see sunlight through gray clouds!

Another lesson learned… call a friend to dispel the grayness!

In Connecticut, it was clearly fall when the trees were full of red, orange and yellow leaves lined the streets and nearby highways – like the Merritt Parkway. Crisp, sunny days conjure up memories of crunchy Macintosh apples, sweet, thick apple cider, hot chocolate, and football games.

We have crisp sunny days in Los Angeles – and I still have Macintosh apples. However, I’ve replaced the football games with … time at the beach! A bit too chilly for swimming (even for this former member of the Polar Bear Club), yet the day was perfect for walking. It was …

As soon as the sea salt reached my nose, I was about eight years old and walking along the beach, looking at Long Island Sound. Not as dramatic as the Pacific Ocean but just as pretty. Refreshed – and back in the present – I continued walking along the bike path, watching the sailboats maneuver up the Pacific coast. I welcomed the warmth from the sun as I zippered up my jacket to protect me from the wind.

I looked up at the cliff across from me to find the steps that would lead me back to the parking lot above.

Ooohh…that’s so high up! How will I climb back up, I thought.

Well, you should have thought about that on the way down! The Other Voice said.

I did and decided I’d just do it.

Good luck, dear! The Other Voice responded. (This is the negative Voice.)

Well, I showed The Other Voice up! I climbed those steps, slowly, but just fine! Quite the workout!