Bracha Goldstein
Heart Full of Words; Soul Made of Ink
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Life after death

We danced to the songs my sister had loved until we were sweaty, silly-looking, and full of an energy we didn’t recognize
Illustrative. (iStock)
Illustrative. (iStock)

Is there life after death?

We watched my baby sister die.

My parents watched their baby girl die.

All nine of her siblings watched their baby sister die.

We surrounded her bed and she left us.

She was 17, and she was tortured and murdered by cancer.

We buried her…we sat for her…we cried for her…we wanted to die for her.

In the end, we got up and walked around the block and they collected the little chairs and we spoke bravely about the future.

Then we dispersed…to all the corners of the globe where we hide…and I stepped forward and tried to live.

But life after death is hard.

Life after death feels wrong, like it isn’t earned.

A piece of my heart stayed in that room in that house in that town in that country so far away where we watched my sister die.

I wonder about life and death a lot these days. I don’t know where my sister is. I don’t know if I believe in an afterlife. I don’t even know how to live in my life after her death.

It has been eight months, two weeks and one day since I watched my sister die.

My other baby sister is 21 and she needs me because she watched her baby sister die.

She made aliyah when she realized she needed to learn how to live after death.

We talk every day, and we laugh, and we sing and we love, but we forget to breathe.

Last night, my sister and I went out to a concert.

I got on a bus and I watched the hills of Jerusalem come into view and I thought about how nice it would be to be alive.

We went to the shuk and we ate sushi at the little sushi place I took my baby sister to the last time she was here. It was the last time she would ever walk the streets of the country she so badly wanted to call home.

We went to the concert. We looked around and saw people living.

We didn’t know what to do. We didn’t know how to be a part of something that had nothing to do with death.

And then the band began to play…and the songs were the songs my baby sister loved…

We turned off our fears and thoughts. We let the music take us away and we went with it. We danced in a way we hadn’t known we could. We felt the beat enter our bones and we let it take over. We were sweaty and silly-looking and full of an energy we didn’t recognize.

We may have felt alive.

It’s funny how a heart can break and still remember how to beat.

It’s funny how a beating heart can move the blood to dancing feet and rush through a moving body to find a spark that wakes a soul.

Is there life after death?

Maybe.

It’s hiding in the beat of a song, coursing through my bloodstream, waiting for me to let it free.

So here I am, world.

I’m ready.

About the Author
Bracha Goldstein is a creative writer and artist living with her husband and two inspiring children in Israel. She writes reflectively, using her unique perspective to bring emotional thought to life.
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