November 17, 2013: Saying Goodbye

I can’t sleep. I just ate half a loaf of chocolate babka with enough sugar to keep me going for a week. So I think now would be the right time for me to write what happened from my perspective. I warn you first, this post may get rough.

The lyrics that I have put it are all from the group 3 Doors Down.

There’s so much that I would say,

If I could see you one last time.

But now I can’t cause you’re not here,

But you’re always on my mind.

And I look up and you’re not there,

When I lie awake at night.

All these things I ask myself

And I don’t know why.

It was around 5 in the morning. I never really sleep. So when CD came in I gave him a sleepy hi and he asked me to come upstairs. I knew there was only one reason at that point he would feel the need to wake me and walk up to the bedroom (I’ve been sleeping in my son’s room.) But it was still a painful short walk.

I believed I would have an enormous feeling of relief when she finally passed. She suffered so much this last two weeks. We all did.

Yet that feeling of relief lasted less than five minutes. I said good-bye to her still body. I asked CD to call whomever he had to call. My hope that she would be taken out of the house before my kids woke up.

But these things take time. The police had to come to certify that the death was from natural causes, the ambulance had to come with the final death certificates. Around six Rafi told me that people would start seeing the ambulance and police cars and would start texting. Word would leak out and eventually reach my children. So I had better tell them myself.

Yedidya was already up and getting dressed. I quietly asked him to go to his sisters room. I closed the door and told them that it was finally over. Then I did the same with Max.

When it’s the first time

You’ll never see someone again

When it’s the last time

You weren’t ready for it to end

When a light leaves you

Standing alone there in the dark

They’re never easy

But sometimes, goodbyes are so hard,

They’re so hard

The Abbos and my brother were downstairs. When the police were done, the Chevra Kadisha was called in to take her away. They suggested I stay away from the room but I couldn’t. I just couldn’t leave her.

In a daze I came downstairs. The Rav and a few more friends were there. They asked me a few questions until I just went numb. I told them to do whatever they need to do as just get the funeral going as soon as possible.

I had two hours. Two hours to do anything. But there was nothing I wanted to do. I put on some sad songs and walked around what had once been our bedroom. I opened her closet and took out one of her dresses and hugged it. Then danced around the room gently holding it close to me. I put it to my face and tried to breath in her essence and not the smell of death that permeated the room.

But the seconds ticked by too slowly. So I changed into my running shorts and got on my treadmill. I kept increasing the speed until the pain of keeping up pushed out the pain of my loss from my mind. I didn’t want to talk to anyone. I didn’t want to read any more psalms. I just wanted to hurt. And I pounded that treadmill until the floor and walls were covered in sweat. Before I knew it, it was time.

I jumped into the shower and then took out my shabbat clothes. Yes, I knew that I would have to tear my shirt. But I wanted to take my most favorite shirt and rip it to shreds because compared to Stella, it meant nothing to me any more.

We all gathered downstairs until it was time to walk the two minutes to where the funeral would be held, outside the synagogue of Neve Daniel. Beforehand the Rav helped us tear kria. And then it was really time.

We walked outside the the shul and the first thing I saw was Stella’s body, draped in a beautiful cover. I was guided with my family to our seats. The Rav spoke in Hebrew. I could follow most of it. But nothing surprised me. I started thinking about what I should say. Our friend Ruth spoke. As she spoke I felt more pain than I could imagine. It was pulling me down from my chair. My daughter put her hand on my back. I knew that Rafi and Noam were close by. But mostly I was looking at the ground. Max got up and tore my heart when he said goodbye to his mother.

When it’s the first time

You’ll never see someone again

When it’s the last time

You weren’t ready for it to end

When a light leaves you

Standing alone there in the dark

They’re never easy

But sometimes, goodbyes are so hard,

They’re so hard

Then it was my turn. I wasn’t exactly sure what to say. But I knew that Stella would be upset if I didn’t try to express my appreciation for all the work that all the people in our community had done for us. I don’t know if I really did it justice, but it may have been an impossible task to start with.

Then it came time to address my children. This was what I considered the most important part of the whole thing. To let them know that their lives have NOT ended, that I WILL be there for them. And that TOGETHER, we would survive. SOMEHOW.

And then. then, it was time to say goodbye to Stella. I looked up and it was the first time I realized just how many people were there. I was stunned for a moment. Then continued talking to Stella. I could see the shape of her head through the shroud and wanted to desperately reach over and give her one last hug. But, I couldn’t.

I look ahead but can’t move on,

I look back but I can’t stay

And I keep trying to be strong,

But this pain it won’t go away

We then escorted her body out of Neve Daniel to the ambulance that would taker her to the cemetery. The burial was one blur. As we slowly walked behind the stretcher, the pain and horror just magnified. Chaim was on one side and Rafi on the other, keeping my knees from buckling as we approached the final place.

All rational thought left my brain as they lowered her into the earth. I started to shake. And I heard myself whisper, “it’s ok, it’s ok.” It may have been my mouth, but that was Stella clearly speaking from my heart.

We walked away from the grave, packed with friends, surrounded by love. Hugs, kisses, crying eyes, supportive words.


I hope this will heal in time,

’cause I can’t go on like this,

And right now I would give my life

For one last kiss.

And now. Now. Now.

Now at two in the morning, I just hope that the pain will fade and that we can rebuild.

And when the night falls in around me

I dont think Ill make it through

I need your light to guide the way

‘Cause all I think about is you

Sorry for the depressing post. But it’s your choice to read it.

I’m here without you baby, but you’re still on my lonely mind

I think about you baby, and I dream about you all the time

I’m here without you baby, but you’re still with me in my dreams

And tonight, there’s only you and me

VIDEO: Eulogy for Stella, a”h – Yarden & Max

VIDEO: Eulogy for Stella, a”h – Ruth Sherman

Baruch Dayan HaEmet

It’s over. My angel, wife, and best friend has finally left this world.

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