This week marks 6 years since we lost you. I’ve spent a lot of time in the last month trying to conceptualize how I now feel, after this amount of time has passed. Most of these thoughts plague me when I am up in the early hours of the morning, feeding Ziggy. These thoughts usually end in a tear falling down my cheek and then I go back to bed.
The morning before you died, you sent me a text. In that text you professed your love and stated that you pale in comparison to me, that you were just dust at my feet. I remember checking this text during breakfast and smiling as I put the phone away.
Little did I know that it was Passover, and around the time I was reading that text, observant Jews all over the world were declaring themselves ownerless of their Chametz “as the dust of the earth.”
After your funeral, they piled the earth in a mound on top of you. And for a month your grave remained fresh like this, unset. The sun was heavy and it pounded on me as my zombie of a body walked to visit you every day. At this time, I still had you on my phone and all of your text messages in my phone’s memory. During this time I only wanted to be by you, even if you were in the ground.
“By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return.” (Genesis 3:19)
Weak and unable to cope, I would place my hands in this mound of dirt. Beneath the flowers and the many wreaths that decorated your grave. I didn’t know what else to do, I felt so alone. Instead, I would squeeze my eyes shut until I felt I blocked out all sound and when I reached this state, I would replay our life together before you died. At night, I would dream about that life and my waking life was a terrible nightmare that I chose not to emotionally participate in. This went on for many months, and lasted at times for years off and on. I would emotionally disregard most things and simply wait for the time I would be able to see you again, in my dreams, or perhaps when I returned to the dust of the earth, I would wait for it if I had to.
And then something happened. I started paying attention to life. I started to feel more than the searing pain of death. After time, it made more sense to honor you by honoring life and by doing so, you became my angel, your memory in my heart was the armor I needed to pull through. And I did.
Someone asked me if I thought it was time to distance myself from your memory, now that I have a family of my own. I explained to her that your family IS my family and your memory is my memory. And this is how it is. This is my life.
Tsiki, I’ll never forget you. And I’m so sorry we lost you in the way we did. Please watch over us, it’s a tough life out there and we all miss you.
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