Saturday, March 29, 2014

Many Calendars

A sweet friend reflected to me this week how complicated it can be to have two calendars in which to grieve, the Gregorian calendar and the Jewish one. I've been thinking about this a lot, and I'm realizing it's even more than that.

This week, on our "regular" calendar, is the week of Sam's relapse. 
One year ago, on March 26, 2013, Sam announced that his legs hurt....and on March 29, I took him to the clinic. 

I so vividly remember the way that I felt when the oncologists walked into the room with the blood results. I didn't even need to hear the words. Relapse. It was one year ago today.

March 26, 2013, however, was not just any date on the calendar. On the Hebrew calendar, it was the second night of Passover. 

And so I'm standing in between two worlds. It's not Passover yet, and I'm feeling the weight of that day. And I'll feel it again, I'm sure, in a little over two weeks, when Passover rolls around on the calendar.

The funeral homes give out a little calendar of dates, future Yahrzeit (anniversary of death) dates for your "beloved deceased." Because of the date of Sam's death, and because of this year's leap year situation, it happens that in 2014, we don't observe his Yahrzeit at all, but twice in 2015....and that's if we only observe his Yahrzeit by the Hebrew calendar...which we can't. We live in two worlds...and it's all complicated.

But remember how I said it is even more than just these two calendars? It is so much more.

There's the cancer calendar. The last two years are seared into my mind, and each day is its own mini-anniversary. I can't help but track...where were we at this time last year? The year before? 

There's the calendar of life we're living now. Each moment is another one without Sam. Each day is another in the row of days without him. And each day has its usual stuff -- school, activities, breakfasts, lunches, and dinners. The days are busy, we move forward through the everyday and the ordinary, the holy and the precious. New memories created on days that hold painful reminders

And then there's the calendar that I try so hard not to dwell upon: the would-have-been calendar. Where would Sam have been right now? What would he be doing? Would he be taller? Would his hair be curly? He would have mastered the whole Hebrew alphabet by now, and he'd be reading prayers and phrases. What would his tree pose look like? Would he be chomping at the bit, waiting for the cold-and-flu season to finally end so he could go back to school? What would he say to each of Solly's new tricks? How would he feel about Yael's current twin obsessions with Barbies and playing "school"? Would we have been able to take him to see David's school play? With each new milestone in our family, I wonder...

So many dates on so many calendars.
So many memories flooding every day.
Some days they hit me like a crashing wall of water. Other days the waves are more gentle. 
But there isn't a day, a date, without them.
March 26, 2013
March 27, 2012
March, 2011 (one of my all-time favorite pictures)
March, 2010 (see the pajamas?!)
March, 2009 (also in pajamas)
March, 2008 (more pajamas!)
March, 2007
March, 2006


  1. Yes.

    These pictures are so beautiful.

  2. I commented a moment ago, I'm so moved by your words. I keep crying for you and wanted to tell you. May you be blessed this week with amazing love.

  3. And the end of the first twelve Jewish months will be a month earlier since there were two Adars this year.
    You were blessed to have such a special son, and he was blessed to have such a loving family.
    HaMakom yenachem.

  4. I wait for each story you share with us about Superman Sam, about you, Solly and Yael. I usually end up with tears flowing down my cheeks while I read what you or Rabbi Michael have written, but today there's a big smile on my face. THE PICTURES OF SUPERMAN SAM AND YOUR OTHER CHILDREN ARE MAGNIFICENT 😊😊😊😊😊😊😊
    What a happy child Superman Sam will always be.
    I love you Rabbi Phyllis,
    Grandma Joan

  5. Calendars remind us of anniversaries, and also help us plan for the future, where Sammy is leading us now.