In a few more days I will light a memorial candle on the day of the third anniversary of my beloved wife’s death. She was the light of my life and without her I walk in darkness. Her light has been extinguished.
We never went to sleep at night without telling one another “I love you very much. Happy dreams”. (Ani ohev otach b’kol libi. Chalomot n’imim). And we held hands together until we fell asleep . This we did for 56 magnificent years together.
I remember the moment I first saw her on board the Zim lines SS/Theodore Herzl in the Italian port of Naples. We knew each other only six days prior to our marriage in Tel-Aviv.
Some called it magic. We called it “hashgacha pratit”… Divine intervention. God wanted it for us.
Together we raised three wonderful children and shared much love with three outstanding grandchildren. They gave meaning and purpose to our lives together.
Now my life is basically without much meaning or purpose. The great love of my children and grandchildren is no substitute for the loss of my wife. Our Israeli Canaan dog, born in Jerusalem, gives me her version of affection every day. She is a source of great comfort to me.
My depression is not normal. I know that. The anti-depression pills which I take daily perhaps help me, but I’m not always aware of a positive effect.
My children suggested many times that I speak with a psychiatrist to overcome my spiritual and physical pain but I continue to refuse. What help can one provide an 86 year old man who is still in mourning for the greatest love of his life? A doctor can only offer words but no words can assuage my loss.
Sitting in our apartment in Rishon Lezion, an apartment which she bought and furnished, I am surrounded by memories, all of them happy ones. But my beloved Rahel is no longer there with me and her absence is like a knife in my heart, a knife that cannot be removed.
What message can I convey? To my readers who have spouses and children, treasure them. Remember to tell them each day how much you love them, how proud you are of them.
Children in particular need to hear the words of parental love. Affectionate actions alone are insufficient. Every child needs to hear the words “I love you” in order to grow in the knowledge that he/she is cherished.
Husbands and wives need to remember the promises they made on their wedding day. They need to re-affirm them each and every day with a simple “I love you, dear”. It costs nothing to say it but it will be very appreciated. Husbands and wives have bonded. They are joined together as one body and spirit.
While the flame of the memorial candle flickers, I will hold her portrait in my hands and will kiss it. And through my tears I will recite prayers, even the words of the kaddish alone and without a required minyan. God will hear me. He will see me. He will understand my affliction.
And in His love, He will finally heal me.
The dead cannot be resurrected but the cherished memories remain forever.
The light has been extinguished but the light of love continues for eternity.