Making aliyah was a dream come true and something I can’t imagine I will ever regret. However, it came with the hefty price of leaving loved ones behind.

I did not get to say goodbye to my uncle before he passed — to hug him — to kiss his forehead and say, “My dear uncle, Mordy, you mean so much to me. I love you and that will never die.”

It’s been a month and for his shloshim, my Aunt Sue asked me to share the letter I wrote right after Mordechai passed.

It is my hope in sharing this that we keep him vivid in our minds and hearts and that his memory forever be a blessing.

“I sit here staring at a blank page in front of me not sure where to begin. I attempt to put my heart on paper knowing words will fail me. Words like love, cherish and respect are a good beginning and I will do my best to describe how they pertain to my dear Uncle Mordechai.

Uncle Mordy was the first and only son of my grandparents. At times one might think that the earth revolved around him due to the light and joy he brought to his parents, his sisters, and their home. It was not only because he was the only boy or the baby, but he also had charm. He loved to laugh and make others laugh. He was meticulous in so many ways, from the way he dressed and kept house, to how resolute he was in his service to Hashem. His kibud av v’em was simply incredible. The love, patience, and understanding he showed Grandma and Grandpa were truly inspirational.

We called him uncle, but in so many ways he was a brother to us, not just due to the closeness in age, but because he was always there for us, from the time we were born. I think fondly back to the days when he would sit and play with us, joke around or even reprimand us, as an older brother would. We will always remember sitting for hours together playing Chamesh Avanim, having heart to hearts, and those comprehensive Divrei Torah he gave at our Shabbat and Yom Tov meals.

He was a fabulous role model because he had the ability to enjoy this world with gusto yet never forgetting where it all came from and what really matters. He was always very sincere and analytical and he would talk to us for hours if he thought it was necessary or helpful. Since the time we were little he loved entertaining us. I think of how he used to wiggle his ears for our amusement. I still chuckle every time I think of all the toilets he took pictures of on his trip to Israel because he was amazed at the different shapes, sizes, and flushers! WhatsApp was a daily reminder of his love for humor and his appreciation for every moment. His WhatsApp status was “Baruch Hashem yom yom,” and he truly appreciated every moment given to him. I don’t think a day went by (that wasn’t Shabbat) that I didn’t receive some meme or joke from him. I think of his big blue eyes opened wide as his eyebrows lifted after he finished saying something from the ridiculous to the super profound. For his heart was equally full of fun as it was in profundity.

I remember the day I spoke to Uncle Mordy and he was very excited to set me up with Jon. I owe him so much hakarat hatov, as do all my six children. It is just another reason out of a million that I am confident that he has earned a high place in Olam Haba.

It is so hard to believe he is gone from this earth. I wish it wasn’t true. But I thank Gd because not everyone is as fortunate as I, to have had an uncle so amazing in their lifetime. Not only did his life have so much meaning and purpose but he added so much to our’s as well. I apologize to him for moments lost and thank him for all the joy he brought me. I will continue to miss him and love him always. Uncle Mordy’s light will forever shine. May his neshama continue to have an aliyah through all the reverberating effects of his countless good deeds and through Aunt Sue, Yonatan, Chaya Bluma, Binyamin and all the grandchildren!”