Birthday Wishes from Beyond the Grave

Binah1 Binah2For my last birthday, I received an Amazon gift card.  It was signed, “Love, Mom and Dad.”   That’s not unusual, until you realize that my mother passed away last year.

Before she did, however, she put some things into place, including making my sister responsible for sending out these cards for family birthdays and including my mother’s name.  It’s a little creepy, but it’s nice to imagine that Mom is still thinking about me, and the fact that she thought ahead is meaningful.

If that were the end of the story, this would be a pretty boring blog.  But it’s not nearly the end.

Since her death, I have definitely felt Mom’s presence around me, especially at times like my daughter’s Bat Mitzvah, Shabbos when I sing the songs that she liked, and on special occasions.

Recently, however, Mom sent Birthday wishes in a most amazing way.   It’s clearly a message from her if you’re ready to see it, and that’s a comforting thought for all those who have lost a loved one.

My mother, Blanche Davids Gewirtz, wrote travel articles for Binah Magazine, a Jewish magazine for women.  She wove magical tales of her trips and had a keen sense of Jewish history which she dug up in places from Newport to New Orleans, Cork to Key West.

I wrote an article for the magazine about her adventurous spirit which was to be published after Pesach this year, just a couple of weeks before her Yahrtzeit.  However, at the last minute things were changed, and the article went to print early.

By accident, the publisher sent an e-mail to my sister, who had been sending in Mom’s articles when she wasn’t well enough to do it.  I had been planning it to be a surprise, but now she knew about it.  As it turned out, the article had actually gone to print last week, the first week of April.

What makes it unusual is that my article mentioned how the daffodils outside our home used to bloom each year on April 4th, my sister’s birthday.  The Shabbos when everyone read the magazine was April 4th, her birthday.  We felt that Mom had arranged things from Heaven to wish my sister a happy birthday more directly.  But there’s more.

The date of the magazine was March 31, my grandmother’s birthday.  Surely that, too, was no accident.  Mom had undoubtedly orchestrated it as a nod to her mother.

As I perused the cover of the magazine, I was shocked to find more references to my departed mother.  The Short Story feature was entitled, “The Dollhouse.”  My mother collected dollhouses!

It was another remarkable “coincidence” (there are really no such things) that made us feel Mom was watching over us.  Then I noted the feature listed under the article I had written.  It was called Mind Over Mood.  Like a bolt of lightning, it struck me that the first letters spelled out MOM!

Looking for any more clues, I saw the feature above, entitled Home Invasion.  The first letters? Hi!

My mother, wanting to let my sister know that she still loves and thinks about us, and is connected to us and what we do here, made this magazine cover, and my article’s early publication, all reflect that love and concern.

Judaism believes that death is only a beginning.  The soul goes on and grows from where it left off in life.  I know that it is a continuation, and that my Mom still loves and thinks of us often.

It’s not just a gift for my family, but for anyone who’s ever lost a loved one.  Now you know they’ve never really left you.


About the Author
Growing up a rabbi's son, Jonathan Gewirtz moved around and met people from all walks of life. A columnist and speechwriter, he draws on his experiences for his writing. As the scion of a Rabbinic family, he is passionate about the power of words and the greatness inherent in each of us.