On 23 September 2016, (20 Elul) two weeks before Rosh Hashanah, my beloved wife of 56 years died after suffering nine months from pancreatic cancer. She was buried five hours after her death.
Although I was obligated to observe thirty days of mourning I chose to mourn privately for the entire twelve months. I closed myself off from entertainment, social events, and even tried to avoid invitations from well-meaning friends. My pain was too great for me to bear.
This past week, Shabbat Shuva, was the first anniversary of her death on the secular calendar. I did not go to the synagogue. I feared that my loud crying would disturb the worshippers and the service. So I remained at home and prayed at home, certain that God would hear my cries and would accept the prayers of a heart-broken widower.
The past year has affected my health, mentally, spiritually, and physically. It is difficult and painful for me to walk. I need to use a cane to keep my balance and prevent me from falling. When I bend down to retrieve an object, my knees give way and I am unable to stand up without grabbing something steady to hold on. Climbing stairs or hills requires me to stop two or three times in order to catch my breath.
At times I feel pain in my chest near my heart. The doctors and cardiologist have told me that there is a 30 percent heart blockage in what is called CAD (coronary heart disease) but assured me it is nothing to be concerned about.
I have been extremely weak, lacking all strength. A big wind could knock me down and I would be unable to rise without help.
I spend my days writing, reading and watching Arutz 2 on the television. My children have been extremely devoted to me but they insist that I must get up, walk outside, drive someplace to do errands or simple grocery shopping. Sometimes I listen to their advice. More frequently, I do not.
The knife still remains buried in my heart and I cannot remove it. I will never be able. It will remain embedded in my heart forever. Without the love of my life beside me, my broken heart cannot be repaired.
Today I awoke at 13:30 for some unknown reason. Normally I am up at 8 o’clock but today, I know not why, I over-slept by 5 ½ hours.
After washing and dressing I recited the mincha prayers. But in the midst of my prayers, I noticed something unusual and remarkable. My strength seemed to have returned. I was able to walk better. I had regained energy. And for the first time in twelve months, my eyes shed no tears.
It was, for me, a miracle of Rosh Hashanah. It was as if God had purposely caused me to suffer since Rahel’s death,to remember her every moment of every day, and now, suddenly on the occasion of the first anniversary of her death, He was relieving me from pain, anxiety and much depression.
It was His way of thanking me for the undying devotion I gave her during the nine months of her terrible suffering. She used to say to me “no other husband would do for his wife as much as you do for me”.
And I would tell her in reply, “Perhaps no other husband is in as much love with his wife as I have been for the past 56 years”.
Perhaps that is a foolish thought. Be that as it may. For the first time in twelve months I am feeling stronger. Hopefully it will grow better day by day.
In all events, do please allow me to believe in a miracle… a miracle of Rosh Hashanah. G’mar chatima tovah to all.