But the smoke still fills my nostrils as memories waft around my mind, making it hard to breathe. Pictures, memories, reading Phyllis's writings brings tears streaming down my cheeks and I let them fall. I allow myself to feel all the reality of my pain because I know how unhealthy the alternative is for me mentally and physically. So I walk through the hole in my soul and look at all the memories and pictures. I look at all the things that currently make me cry knowing someday they will make me cry less. Someday I will just cherish them for what they are, the precious gems Sammy left me to remind me how good life was and how good it can be.
Now I prepare to spend a week with all my rabbis. A week with all the rabbis I call friend-family, who have known me since my youth, since graduate school, since Sammy was born, since Sammy got sick, since Sammy died. I'm prepared to have my head shaved with nearly a Sanhedrin of rabbis (Great Rabbinic court of 71 of the wisest rabbis during the Second Temple Period). My work raising funds for pediatric cancer research stands completed for the moment before I begin fundraising for next week, next month, next year. We scratched the surface so well this time. Maybe next time we aim for a million dollars or even a daring $1.8 million. We have the will, we have the way, we have communities who believe in what we believe that no child or family should ever experience what we and so many like us have experienced.
It is time for my hair to be gone. It is time to become invisible again, my new "normal" self, a fitting moment to remove the visible sign of my grief in such a public manner.
People ask how I will handle it. I respond that my walls are strong when I need them to be. They are always close and at hand when I need something to press against to keep myself standing. I will also be surrounded by a wall of love and a sea of open arms and hearts. As a couple we will be embraced beyond our expectations. As a community we will embrace each other, pray together and heal together towards a future where pain such as this is but a historical memory. May Sammy's memory strengthen the glue that binds us as one and fuel our determination to eradicate Pediatric Cancer in our lifetimes of mending the world and making it a better place.
March 30, 2014
Even bald, Sammy kept his sense of joy and humor as many days as he could.
A true inspiration.