My life is filled with chapters. I could write a book of my life – each chapter of the book corresponding to another chapter of my life. I have just begun a new chapter in my life, yet another new chapter. Truth be told, I would rather not have all these chapters. I would prefer my life to be steady, constant, unchanging, and to be content with what I have. But, I think perhaps the inconstancy of my life is a punishment of sorts – for the discontent I have in the past expressed about my life. Especially given that my life was really good. I had a wonderful husband. I lived in a wonderful community. I had many good friends (still do), and we lived a good life. But I always wanted more. More money, more clothes, jewelry, a bigger house, to be able to make aliyah easily, to have the respect of my peers, to be acknowledged with great honor, - the list goes on. To be “samecha bechelki”, “happy with my lot in life”, I should have been, but was not. And so, all that I took for granted was ripped away from me, my life torn asunder.
This in no way absolves my stepdaughters and my late husband’s ex wife and his parents of the roles they played in the tearing apart of my life – for they did play a great role in that. We all have free choice, and sometimes we make the wrong choices. I made some erroneous choices in my life – but marrying Barry was NOT one of them. Barry was the best thing that ever happened to me. He taught me that I have real value. He taught me how to get along with other people. He taught me how to be a friend, a lover, a spouse. He loved me; he was so good to me.
Hashem saw fit, for some reason, to take him from us. Perhaps his usefulness had come to an end. Perhaps he was a gem, a treasure and the angels wanted him for themselves, or perhaps we simply did not deserve him. We will never know, but he is gone and so we go on, without him.
I read the first few chapters of a book recently, in which the author describes her life after her husband died suddenly and tragically, unexpectedly. She describes how she goes through the motions of her life, and how she thinks, “he will see that I am taking care of things”. That is exactly how I feel. With everything I do, I think, “Barry will see that I am taking care of things. I am ok. I can do this.”
And so my thoughts go, as I enter this new phase of my life. I have moved out of the house I called my home for the past ten years, a house in which I spent time, energy, and money making into a place we could all feel comfortable in, a place to have our friends and family join us, a place where we could retreat and just be ourselves, alone, silly or serious. I have moved away from a community in which I had become entrenched, through various activities, mostly involvement in my shul. This was a community in which I first was nervous of, and worried that I would not be able to fit in, but in which I ultimately became an integral part of, and it became an integral part of my life. I have, in the past year, lost my husband, lost my job, and due to contested probating of my late husbands’ estate, I lost his family (his children, his parents).
But now to look forward.
I have moved to a new community, one with a reputation for being a ‘nice’ community, filled with friendly, warm, welcoming people. Thus far (one week) this reputation has been borne out as true. I have moved into a new place, an apartment rather than a house, but one that is quite large and feels like a house. I am in the process, once again, of converting a space into a home where I can feel comfortable, invite friends and family over, enjoy meals and other gatherings, and a place where I can retreat and be alone with myself. The trick is for me not to feel lonely.
But, lonely I am. I miss my husband. I miss the family. I want it all back. I cannot have it back. I do hope, however, over time, to come to terms, and to hopefully meet another wonderful man with whom I can be happy. I hope too, that I have learned my lesson and will be better able to be ‘samecha b’chelki”.
We shall see, we shall see.