Let us choose life
February 26, 2021
(JNS) — A month has passed, 30 days, since our beloved Sheldon — a husband, a father, a grandfather, brother and close friend — was laid to rest.
A month ago we were crying by his side atop the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem and today the family is forced to grieve and honor his memory from afar. A month ago we were in the midst of winter, and today we see the budding spring.
A month ago, my children had a present father, and today they stand, reciting the Mourner’s Kaddish, shouldering the unshakable burden of having been orphaned. That is life. That is death. That is how they flow, like the seasons, forever intertwined.
But life and death are in no way equal in value.
The Book of Deuteronomy states, “This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. Choose life, so that you may live, you and your children.”
Living life — living the right way, with self-fulfillment and dignity — is a choice. Sheldon knew that better than most. In his 87 years, he managed to see, do and achieve so much — enough for several lifetimes. It is not for nothing that we used to joke that he was the “Energizer bunny.”
That is also what makes his death so painful. The void he left behind is vast. The air feels thin without him. The colors have faded and daylight is cold. I can fill my home with company, music and conversation, but without his voice calling my name, I feel I am wandering in a desert of silence.
Imagine the shock I experienced when, last week, I had to fill out some forms and realized I had to check the “widowed” box, when my instinct — as it has been for the past 30 years — was to check the “married” box.
I know that I will always feel married to Sheldon, the man who has become a part of me. Our love was whole. We both thought and felt the same things, in full synchronicity. I could read his thoughts, and he mine. I would often complete his sentences as we were able to communicate without words.
We still do, when he appears in my dreams every night or when I hear songs we both loved, and I close my eyes and feel his presence. That is why I know — that is why we all know, beyond any doubt — that Sheldon would like us to choose life, just as he did.
Despite the great confusion and pain, we have and will continue to choose life. We will prosper; we will continue to raise the young; we will rise and we will succeed. And yes, when the time comes, we will also laugh again and celebrate life. Because that is what Sheldon would have expected of us.
May his memory be blessed. This memory may fill us with sadness at this time, but it will eventually fill us with joy, too.
That is my prayer. That is my promise.
Dr. Miriam Adelson, M.D., is a specialist in chemical dependency and drug addiction. She is the publisher of “Israel Hayom.”
This article first appeared in Israel Hayom.