In memory of: Esther Rochel a”H
Yitzchak Shalom HaKohen a”H
As many of you know, I just got up from sitting shiva. During the shiva I thought a lot about my brother and sister-in-law, trying to make any sense of these tragedies. I couldn’t. They were both so young and had so much to live for. But, I know that Hashem makes decisions that we don’t understand.
I decided to put pen to paper and blog about my thoughts.
Three years ago my dear sister-in-law Esther a”H told me she had been diagnosis with lung cancer. Esther wasn’t just my sister-in-law, she was my sister and best friend. Esther was a fighter. She wanted to live for her husband Yitzchak a”H, their children, and grandchildren. Whatever treatment was offered she agreed to try.
With all her pain she tried not to complain. Her faith in Hashem was strong.
And by her side day in and day out was Yitzchak, all their children and their spouses and the older grandchildren.
The kids would go with her to doctor appointments and treatments.
Their home was filled with kindness and humility.
But Esther’s illness had consequences and took a toll on Yitzchak.
On 28th of Av 5776 [September 1 2016] Esther returned her neshama to her maker.
Eleven months later, 29th of Tammuz 5777 [July 23rd, 2017] Esther’s beloved husband, returned his neshama to his maker.
In eleven months my nine nieces and nephews and their spouses and children lost their parents and grandparents and I lost my brother and sister-in-law. I feel empty. The loss is great.
My nephew asked me if I would like to speak at the funeral. I said yes. These were my words.
Yitzchak, I was 6 years old when you were born and I was so excited to have a little brother. In those days mothers and babies stayed in the hospital for 10 days and your brit was in the hospital. I didn’t get to meet my baby brother until your brit. It was love at first sight.
Last week when I visited you, your eyes were wide open and I remembered a story from 60 years ago. You were 4 years old and I was 10. We were on a vacation at Old Orchard Beach Maine. We were getting ready to go somewhere and mommy told us to wait in the hotel lobby but not to go outside.
One second you were with me, the next second you were gone. We looked everywhere. The hotel manger called the police and described you as the sweetest little boy with big round brown eyes and a patch on your knee. They found you 15 minutes later. When asked why you went outside you said “I saw a little puppy go by and it was alone so I went to see if it was okay.” And this is how you led your life.
Yitzchak, you had a heart of gold. If someone needed help, you were the first person to help. I want to thank-you for being my little brother and I want to thank-you for bringing Esther into our family. She wasn’t just my sister-in-law, she was my best friend and I miss her so much.
Together you and Esther raised a beautiful family. Your children are so very special. The respect they had for you and Esther and the way they care about each other is heartwarming.
Yitzchak when you see mommy and daddy please tell them I love and miss them. Tell them about their beautiful family. About all their grandchild, about the many great-grandchildren they have and that they have a little great-great granddaughter.
Yitzchak you and Esther have earned your places in Gan Eden. I love you.