Reader-submitted: It could have been me

opinionAn open letter to the community who wants to know how they can prevent tragedy. In response to the article by Tzvi Gluck:

It could have been me.


Fighting for life

Each day anew

Years of being alone

Of people like you.

Teachers’ whose words

Stabbed me in the heart

Sitting right near you

Yet being apart.

Abused at night

But when you saw me I would smile

I had to move on

I was only a child.


It could have been me

That gave up the fight

When the last flicker went out

And it turned black as night.


I would take from the strength

That I had inborn

And fight the long battle

Try to weather the storm.

For years I would struggle

To put on the show

With no one to turn to

Nowhere to go

And when you would see me

You would walk past

Be jealous of my success

Or judge what I lack.

When you see me in the store

You cut me off in line

and to just turn around and smile

You just don’t have time

And when I was in class

And you called me out

You didn’t know me

Or what my life was about.


It could have been me

That gave up the fight

When the last flicker went out

And it turned black as night.


And when I’m walking in town

You are too busy to stop

For ten seconds to help

As my packages drop

And when I was waiting to park

You cut me off

So it seems like no one cares

Who is on the same turf.


It could have been me

That gave up the fight

When the last flicker went out

And it turned black as night.


I am trying so hard

But I’m hanging by a thread

All day I smile

At night I cry in bed.

And although the abuse

Was a few years ago

The pain inside

Is about being alone

I already feel different

Though I may look the same

I try to move on

I live with terrible pain.

Yes I go for help

But “help” can’t provide

A community

Or people who actually care inside.

Going for help

Doesn’t spread awareness to you.

That is your responsibility

If you want to save the lives of Jews.

Isn’t Pikachu Nefesh

First in line

Think of this

Next time you don’t have time.

Is it too hard to ask you

To see  past the eye

to look what may be

Really inside?


I tried for many years

But you all make me feel alone

When I opened up to you

What have you shown?

Not much

The people are still pretty unaware

Of what goes on

And what is out there.

And then my strength waned

And the flame inside died

I had no more to fight

Nothing left inside.



It could have been me

That gave up the fight

When the last flicker went out

And it turned black as night.



It could have been me

Yesterday or today

When the skies started to pour

And life felt like shades of grey

It could have been me

Who has no hope inside

And just sat by that ocean

Alone and just cried

It could have been me.


SO you are asking

What it is that you can do

To try to help

And save one more Jew?

If you see me

Don’t brush right past

Do you have 10 seconds

That may make my life last?

A smile or kind works

Or a hello how are you

Are those too difficult

To save the life of a Jew?

And surely don’t cut me off in line

I may not have a lot of strength left that day

“If I make it” may be up to you

And by the things you do and say


It could have been me

That gave up the fight

When the last flicker went out

And it turned black as night.


You don’t want it to be me

Cause I’m your neighbor and friend

You want to know what you can do

So a life should not end?


You want to stop death?

You said you want to save Jews?

Be kind to one another

Is that asking too much of you?


It could have been me

There’s a lot you can do

Everyone is responsible

Including you.

I look just like you

I hide my secret well

SO when you see me

You may not be able to tell.

SO each person you see

Just imagine it was me

The whole world will be happier

I guarantee.

You may be the only one

Who makes someone feel not alone

That may save their life

With the kindness you have shown.

Would not that be something

You want to do

It is ten seconds of your time

We’re asking of you.


And then it won’t be me

OR the others who are in pain

You will turn dark into light

And ignite the last flicker again.

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  1. Powerful poem. Someone is in a lot of pain and articulated it very nicely. Very sad. And, yes, we can all be nicer to each other. I just don’t get the cut in line part. I never see that. And if you do, why would you let ? You can just say, ahem, excuse me, there’s a line. I’m Before you. May H-shem give you the strength to go on.

  2. Hi jog a ton . Firstly I have seen people walk faster then the person ahead of them ( done In an assuming way ) in order to proceed on line ( so they get there “first” without it looking like a cut )I think the authors point may be exactly that . People do things that are not outright wrong but just insensitive . Second It seems the author was just giving vauge examples It may be the person writing the poem was being sensitive to all the people who acually caused them pain by not giving spicific examples . Lastly I think a point is that there is so much pain that there is not a lot of room left to deal w other things on a day by day basis . May we all be kind to one another and grow together !!

  3. I could have written this too. I was abused for many years and am living with the effects till today. I went to therapy for a while but the therapist wasn’t good for me and I had to give it up because I simply couldn’t afford the good ones. There are so many chessed organizations, where’s the one that supports, financially and emotionally, the ones who were abused and molested by people in our community? I need therapy but can’t get it simply because it isn’t affordable. Is that not sad?

  4. Words from the heart, enter the heart – if you let them. Substitute “lane” for “line”…

    In Abraham Ibn Ezra’s “Sefer Yesod Mora, Ve-Sod Ha-Torah” (commonly known as “Secret of the Torah”), he states that perhaps one in one-thousand of us truly understand how to behave properly regarding everyday social situations.That was over eight-hundred years ago. Have we progressed? The Ga’on of Vilna was allegedly quoted in “Kol HaTor”, (“Voice of the Turtledove”), that the number is more like one in ten-thousand. That was just over three-hundred years ago. Is the trend continuing downward? This article would seem to indicate so. When did it begin?

    R. Eliezer says, “after the Mikdash was destroyed, Chachamim started to descend to be like teachers of children. Teachers of children became like heads of the Beis ha’Keneses; heads of the Beis ha’Keneses became like commoners; and commoners keep descending”.

    When will it end? Perhaps the article has the clues…..

  5. It starts at home!! Start treating people like you would want to be treated. Saying please and Thank You is so lacking in today. Holding the door for someone, especially when they are pushing a stroller or carrying packages. Offering to help a lady or older person put the groceries in their cars. When your children and others see you doing this they will start doing the same thing. We need to treat all people like human beings. Lets all start making more Kiddush H-shems instead of Chillul H-shems.

  6. Ouch. This poem is powerful in its sadness. And it seems like theeres alot of this going around. @Anon – There is an org to help you, more than one, in fact. There is Amudim, for abuse victims. And there is the Regesh Network. You can also call Relief, they can refer you a specialist & they can tell you who gives financial help. Theres alos R’ Chaim Epstien’s zt”l’s Tzedaka that gives money just for therapy, I dont know the name of it, tho.

  7. What a powerful peice. I don’t know you my friend but I too have been there. We don’t know the whys and we may never know but it is important not to use our suffering as a crutch. (Although I will never ever blame someone who does because I did for over a decade). understand Brother that the focus is not on the yesterday’s or tomorrows but on today, right now… Some of the pain will always remain as you had a part of you that was stolen. But if you stay strong and you continue to place one foot in front of the other you will live to smile again, I promise you.

  8. This is such a powerful poem. Hopefully it will make us all stop and think a minute and be more careful with our interactions. THis person may be someone we know! And even if it isn’t, everyone is carrying some kind of burden. Let’s try to lighten everyone’s load. We can even be nice to those who aren’t suffering!
    I hope all who have to carry this terrible burden of abuse and other burdens can find help to overcome the terrible suffering.

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