The sweet life can sometimes be bittersweet

The day has dawned. Literally and figuratively. I awoke before the dawn. Time to get up. Nursed my 1.5 yr old for the last time. As she lolled back into her slumber, I quietly slipped out of my bed. Taking a glance back at my baby and oldest 14, I swallowed hard and said a quick prayer. Please let them be ok without me.
And they will be. It’s only for 12 days.
The dawn brought with it the stark reality that today I must traverse the globe in order to be at the levaya ( funeral) of MY Father. I have dreaded this day, since I could remember. It has been my biggest fear. I can finally talk about it. My paranoic fears from childhood that I have kept hidden inside me. Far away. Afraid to breathe them, just in case they actualize.
And after 42 years of silencing that shrill voice – the inevitable happened.
It took me 42 years of gaining an understanding. An understanding that death is as much part of life as birth is. One is of boisterous joy, the other profound sadness.
But a different sadness. It’s not a sadness that I anticipated I would feel. It’s a tangible feeling of loss.
It dawned on me yesterday as I drove around somewhat aimlessly- trying to get things done before I left- that my Neshama ( my soul) is intrinsically attached to my father’s. Our relationship is not just biological it’s spiritual. Our love is intertwined on a soul level. Parents give a piece of each of their souls, so to speak, to their children. This of course is my understanding. My deduction. Why have I never thought of this before? I’m a mother. I have given birth many times. I realize why.
You only really miss something when you no longer have it.
Having children multiplies your “youness”.
Losing a family member, one becomes horribly aware of a missing piece of my own soul. That is the pain. I am my father and he is me. His soul left this world. That must mean a part of me left too.
I have learnt a lot lately about the soul. I am not going to go into it ( unless anyone wants me too) but one thing I will say is that the soul is intrinsically connected to Hashem. Like an invisible string that can never be severed. No matter what. Some people latch onto that cord – like the lifeline that it is. And the small string becomes a thick rope of connection to the infinite good.
In turn – and again, my surmise – our souls have these invisible cords connecting us , one to another. Possibly thicker ones the closer the relationship. And maybe, as that soul departs this world the presence becomes less, but the attachment always remains. The connection is still there but now exists on a plane devoid of space and time. And for us still mortal – we cannot comprehend of a world outside Einsteins theory of relativity. So unless we gain an understanding of the spiritual world, we could not fully grasp the greatness of creation.
And sad, so sad I am. My dad, to know him was to love him. He radiated life. No obstacle was too great. He really embraced life and gave it his all. We all adored him. A father of fathers and a man of men. My mom, my sisters and I – so very fortunate to have him as our dad. As our soul connection.
As I contemplate my state. And feel the physical heaviness. A state of crushing. And the day of dread – it is not at all as I envisioned. Life is normal. People are great – their outpouring of love and good wishes is mind boggling. Testament to my father. Testament to lives lived all over the globe testament to our inter-connectedness. Reality is that we are all part of the same whole. Pieces of an infinite puzzle.
Today my dad’s piece of the puzzle found its place in creation. It has been returned.
My message, as life unravels itself and I learn something new each day, is that life is sweet. Everything is good. Even if we can’t fully understand from our limited perspective. My father loved everyone. And that is how we should live. As one family. As one soul.

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