Tag Archives: death

I Didn’t Cry When They Told Me My Son Would Die

Death. I didn’t have much experience with it growing up. My grandfather died when I was 18. Up to that point, death had been something that happened to other people. It shocked us when he died, suddenly and peacefully in his sleep. He was a lovely person, and I miss him to this day.

Life goes on as they say, and it did.

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Headstone ceremony

My grandparents were very special people. My grandfather passed away a few years ago. My grandmother passed away last summer. As per Jewish tradition, the headstone (matzeivah in Hebrew) was being unveiled around 11 months after her death. Most people do it either after 30 days or between 11-12 months after the passing. This past Sunday, a hot summer day, we made our way to the cemetery for the unveiling. The extended family was there which included all their children and grandchildren and people close to them. My grandfather had been an influential member of our community, one of the leaders. We had a quite a few people coming for my grandmother’s unveiling in my grandfather’s honor.

We started off with saying psalms corresponding to the deceased’s Hebrew name. Then one of my uncles spoke a few words. He said he will be reading a letter my grandfather wrote. This is what the letter said: “This letter is to opened by the unveiling of my wife’s headstone. As I went through the Hell that was Auschwitz, I made a promise to G-d that if I get safely out of this hell, I will dedicate my life to charity and good deeds. I came here, found my woman of valor that I shared my life with and settled down. I tried as best as I could to fulfill my promise and my dear wife was a full partner and did all she could to help me. She told me: “I ask nothing of you but when the time comes, I want to be put to rest next to you” so if this is in accordance with Jewish law, I want you to bury her next to me. If this is not possible for whatever reason, make sure I’m not buried next to a non Sabbath observer or a stingy rich man.”

My grandfather was the most giving person I knew, he couldn’t fathom someone having riches and not give to charity. he lived for charity and so did my grandmother. My own family was the recipient of his monthly envelope with cash in the mailbox. Until today my family has no idea it was him.

I found that letter extremely moving. After that my brother in law said some words, remembering that special couple who left behind a legacy of charity and righteousness and G-d fearing descendants. He broke down in tears while begging them to intervene on his son’s behalf who is stricken with pediatric cancer. Not a dry eye was left after his plea.

The ceremony ended with the Rabbi saying the Memorial Prayer and the sons reciting Kaddish.

A great man has gone..

For those of you who have read my last post, I had mentioned something about a man in our community being very ill. Sadly he passed away Friday night ūüė¶

I would like to write some words about him, to try and describe who and what he was even though it will be quite impossible.

This is a big loss for our community, very tragic. His name was synonymous with charity. He had created an organization which had volunteer drivers take people to and from hospitals out of town. How many times had I taken advantage of this organization when I had to get to a hospital for my IF treatments. When my mother was in hospital, the biggest stress was finding rides and he just made that period so much easier to bear.

And the way he helped people with infertility struggles. He was the go-to person for all Jewish couples coming to our town from abroad for treatments. He got them in to see the Dr, put them up in his house for weeks on end and so much more. How many times has he helped me with getting me appointments, getting me a medicine I was missing and was just there for support and advice. When my brother needed to have a complicated procedure, he was the one who went with him to hospital, like a father. Many more acts of charity and kindness were done by him, almost all of them quietly and without fanfare.

He is leaving a big void, felt by every person who has known him. We don’t know why G-d took him, He has his reasons which we don’t know. But we can learn from him. Learn how to help people quietly and unassuming, to try and see a need and fill it. We can never be Mr C. but we can try to emulate him to the best of our abilities.

Condolences to his family and friends, he will be so missed.

A dream reborn

It has always been my dream to be a mother of twins. It made me happy when I passed a mother with a twin carriage on the street. I am not sure why I wanted this so much. Perhaps my desire stemmed from ¬†my husband’s extraordinarily close identical twin brothers, I wanted this for my children? I didn’t have that closeness with my siblings.¬†

We tried to become pregnant from the day we were married. As the years slowly and anxiously passed, we realized conceiving would not be as simple as we had hoped. It became apparent that we were dealing with infertility. A period of treatments followed. It was a rollercoaster ride with so many downs. I broke down a lot. It was hard to see any light at the end of this long, dark tunnel after so many disappointments. 

After I couldn’t delay it any longer, the IVF route had to be taken. The only thing that made me go for it was the fact that twins were now a¬†possibility¬†since the odds of having twins were greater with IVF.¬†That thought was very exciting and made the whole procedure more bearable.

Fortunately, we didn’t have to go through this multiple times…after the dreaded two-week waiting period was over, we heard the most wonderful news anyone struggling with infertility can hear:

Dear Mrs. Sunflower, congratulations, you are pregnant! 

Tears streamed down my face as I shared this news with my husband. My numbers were very high which indicated a possible twin pregnancy.  Just a few short weeks later the news was confirmed: I was carrying twins! My dream was actually going to come true! 

A few weeks after, on the day of my sister’s wedding, I suddenly felt myself losing water. I¬†became¬†hysterical because I was sure I was going to lose the babies and I didn’t think I could bear the blow. Thankfully the babies were doing well, but I had to stay on bed rest for a week and sadly missed my first sister’s wedding. Honestly, I didn’t care, my babies were safe and that’s what mattered most.

The pregnancy progressed nicely after that scare.

Without warning 31 weeks later the same thing happened. This time the hospital would not release me.  I was scheduled to stay in the hospital until I gave birth. Initially thinking I would be stuck on bed rest in hospital for 10 weeks, but that was not to be.  A mere 2 days later, the babies had to come due to an infection. Born at the end of 31 weeks, my dream of having twins had finally come true.

My twin boys were premature and although I ached to hold them, I was not allowed. It felt surreal, like a dream. I gazed at them for hours, imagining the day I would finally take them home and these beautiful twins would become our reality. 

Days, then weeks passed. My husband and I were starting to make plans for their homecoming. Although they had many ups and downs in the NICU, things looked good. There was talk of taking them home once they gain a bit more weight. 

I usually went to visit them once a day, mostly in the mornings as I was still weak from the c-section. One fine morning, I decided to go shopping first. Before I went, I called the NICU to hear how my precious twins were doing. I was transferred to the head nurse who told me that my oldest had woken up with a bloated stomach. A while later his vitals were flying, and they quickly had to take him for emergency surgery. 

Apparently he suffered a very rare condition in which half of his intestines were burned. We rushed to the hospital and arrived while he was still in surgery. We were told that by a miracle a top surgeon was just visiting the hospital and agreed to operate on my son.¬†After the operation,¬†the surgeon came by and told us that the prognosis was bad. The next 24 hours were critical and even if he pulled through, he would likely be brain damaged. I felt frozen. I tried to make sense of what was happening but I couldn’t. This could not happen to me of all people, could it?¬†

As I witnessed my little warrior fighting for his life I was devastated, heartbroken. His tiny body was barely visible under all the tubes and wires keeping him alive. He wasn’t breathing on his own.¬†

After sitting by his side for many hours, we decided to go home for a bit. Less than five minutes after we arrived home, we received the phone call from our doctor to turn right back because this precious soul’s end was near. My heart fell, I wasn‚Äôt ready for this. No one is ever ready for the loss of a child. We raced back and arrived just in time for a callous¬†doctor to tell us “he is gone”- the words no parent EVER wants to hear in their lifetime.¬†

We saw his heartbeat slow down towards the inevitable;¬†apparently he wasn’t gone yet, he saved us just enough time to say our goodbyes.¬†

I couldn’t do this, I didn’t want to do this. My baby, my long awaited precious gift from heaven was being taken¬†from me- as was my dream of being a mom to twins. As cold as it may seem, I was heartbroken about the loss of my dream too. ¬†I was devastated over¬†the fact that my son would never know his twin, and never find what could have been a beautiful relationship. I mourned two things: the loss of my sweet child and the loss of my¬†dream; a double blow to me.

It was all too much so I froze, I became numb. I couldn’t even cry when he finally died. My husband, the man who never cries, was bawling like a baby though. I had decided to try and find some positive in¬†the situation. First, I was not alone:¬†I had a beautiful baby I adored, an infant I never, not for one moment ceased to be thankful for. Since my dear son never came home, I did¬†not have the time to properly bond with him and perhaps that made the loss the tiniest amount easier.¬†

The loss of a baby is always a tragedy. The loss of my baby was utter devastation.  I have learned to never take life for granted as it can be snuffed out in an instant. 

My dream of having twins was stolen but I built new dreams. I dream of autism acceptance for my son and a happy healthy life for both him and my miracle daughter. I dream of a successful outcome of the infertility treatments we’re going through for baby number three.

And one never knows, we may still end up with twins.  Regardless, any baby born is a miracle and I will treasure him or her.  I wait and pray for this next child, I pray they come, twins or singleton, healthy, autistic or not autistic, this child will have a home filled with love.

A dream reborn

Since I’m on Facebook, I have met many awesome people. A group of them, who have pushed and inspired me to start writing, have created their very own submissions website called the original bunker punks. And I’m honored to have my very first article published there. May it be the start of a writing career ūüėČ

It’s a story about a sad part of my life and I would like to share it with you. Please read and as usual, don’t forget to leave feedback!

PREVIEW:¬†It has always been my dream to be a mother of twins. It always made me happy when I passed a mother with a twin carriage on the street. I am not sure why I wanted this so much. Perhaps my desire stemmed from ¬†my husband’s extraordinarily close identical twin brothers, I wanted this for my children? I didn’t have that closeness with my siblings..

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