Letter: Shloshim thoughts from a brother

My Dearest brother Yehuda,

Sitting here on the eve of your sheloshim, I’m still trying to come to terms with the fact that you’re not here anymore. Although it’s been thirty days, it feels as though time stopped since you passed away. My nights were filled with beautiful and nostalgic dreams about you and my days were filled with memories and feelings of longing for the day that we are all waiting for. The day when all the dead will return to the living.

Yehuda, I thought I knew you well. We were very close during your lifetime. We’ve spent so much time together. Although I got married eleven years ago, we still maintained our relationship and spent many many hours on the phone. We’ve spoken so much and kept that beautiful bond and connection which we always had.

However, the stories that I’ve heard during shivah and thereafter, shocked me beyond words. Your greatness was so hidden even from your closest siblings. Your simplicity was huge. You had one mission in life and that was to master every challenge that came your way.

Looking back at the amount of pain you were in, amazes me yet again, how much emunah and strength you had. You knew where this dreadful disease was heading. You knew from day one, the extremely grim prognosis. You knew that there were no living survivors of the cancer that was thrown at you. Yet, with strength that I never knew you had, you fought until your very last breath. You fought to maintain the most positive and happy environment that was possible. You hid all your pain. You hid your enormous emotional dread of knowing that the your life was nearing its end. You hid the fact that the tentacles of death were slowly and steadily surrounding you.

Every visitor walked out feeling uplifted from you. Every family member was in awe at the way you got up in the morning and went about your day, despite being in excruciating pain. Every bone and organ hurt. Every move was an ordeal. However that didn’t take away from the humor and wit that came pouring out of you, through your words and your poems.

Your smile and angelic face gave off the most peaceful vibe. A vibe that only you can display, despite the fact that you were facing death every day.

While being semi conscious, you spoke about seforim. You davened although you were barely conscious. Your heart rate improved every time we sang a song of closeness to Hashem. Your pain wracked body responded to that longing that your heart felt while hearing the song.

On all my visits to the hospital, I saw the pain on your face. I saw dread in your eyes. I saw it because I knew you too well for you too hide it. However to the outside world, it was hidden. Your face looked like the face of an angel. You were given the task of fighting the dreaded disease and fight you did. Although you passed away from it, you still won the fight. You passed the test and displayed the most heroic strength I’ve ever seen in my life.

How was it possible that you awoke each and every morning, knowing that you’ll be facing the most excruciating pain? How was it possible that you pushed yourself so hard to go to shul? How was it possible that you were able to write beautiful poems, full of emunah and strength, while sitting in the chair getting infused with the most toxic forms of chemo? How was it possible that you sent me a thank you text, thanking me for the “pain” of coming out to Texas to visit you? This was you. This was your pure soul. This was the diamond that you were. You were born a diamond and you’ve polished it every day anew. When you left this world, the gem shined so brilliantly. It is this gem that I’m mourning over. This diamond that I won’t ever see again until that special day.

Yehuda, I ask you to be a mailetz yosher for myself and the rest of the family. You have special powers and I beg of you to use them and bring us all the Yeshuah that we need, as well as the rest of klal Yisroel.

All my love, your dear brother, Yaakov.

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3 COMMENTS

  1. Wow. This is some letter,Thank you for sharing this is with us. so inspiring. May הקב”ה give you and your family strength to move on. May you know from no more pain

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