Life is for being alive

Staging a sit down strike on my unassuming couch
Something bothering her
Something she shares
With loud defiant silence

Pizza, strawberry banana punch, books, CDs from the library
Two hours and ten laughs at the park
Can’t we just call it a day already?

(Rising Tone) PLEASE?
Or care to explain – what now –
Here in the car
At all?

Annoyance, frustration, exasperation, I feel
Only she knows how she feels
Finally –
Throwing on her coats and boots,
Silent and sad
Shaking and crying

Me Her
Parked in front of her house
I, curious confused
She, still shaky, crying

After three hesitating minutes
She finally speaks
“Mr. Gottlieb…so sad that he’s passed away”
She misses Mr. Gottlieb
A mutual beloved friend

So many do

After three hesitating minutes
I finally speak
“Do you believe in G-d?”
A nod yes

“Do you believe Mr. Gottlieb’s G-dly soul lives on forever?”
A second nod

“Do you think he’s happy?”
Another nod

“Why are we sad if he’s happy?”
Puzzled silence

“I guess because we miss him”
Quiet “Yes”

“But would he want us to miss him sadly?”
Resolute “No”

“He would say “Happy! I want to see you dancing!”
Small laugh

“Life is for being ALIVE!”
Faint smile

“So can you make a decision to miss Mr. Gottlieb with joy?”
Determined nod

“And I will do the same”
Calm silence

“Can you smile at me right now – just for Mr. Gottlieb?”
Bright smile

“I bet he’d love that smile”
(Even brighter smile)

“Good night, and call me tomorrow, ok?”
(Still smiling, “Okay”)

She –
Hits the ground running,
Somewhere in the vast universe
Plodding through the snow
To her door,
Smiling for Mr. Gottlieb
– and he –
Smiling back.

“…and the living should take it to heart.” (Ecclesiastes 7:2)


*Please do a mitzvah in honour and in memory of

Lazar Leib ben Yaacov. 

About the Author
Chana holds an M.S. in Special Education. Her innovative poems, essays and lectures reflect two and a half decades of experience working with students of all ages and abilities. Chana's writing has been published on, as well as in The Canadian Jewish News, The Jewish Press, and AMI. As a longtime volunteer with the Friendship Circle, Chana was recognised by the Ontario Legislature for “bringing a smile to the faces of children with special needs.” Although Chana 's "heart is in the east" she currently lives with her with her family in Toronto.
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