When I wrote my last post, The Invitation That Wasn't Sent, several people told me that they thought it was going to be about Sam's Bar Mitzvah.
I gave it a lot of thought. Why did I focus on that invitation instead of the one that I was even MORE likely to have sent? The Marrow Day party was a little bit of a pipe dream (I mean, come on, Obama AND Rowling AND Miranda?! Pick one, Phyl.)...but the Bar Mitzvah...that was real.
And that's when I realized how very much harder this is.
The Bar Mitzvah was ALWAYS on our minds. We talked about it very early on (here and here). It's a milestone that is fixed, age-based. It's not like a graduation, which takes place alongside a whole group of others, or a wedding, which is individual and not related to a specific age. It's meant to happen at a certain time for a certain person.
And that certain person just isn't here.
And so it's been weighing on me, so so so much.
What would we be doing in these days leading up to the Bar Mitzvah? How many challot would I be baking? How many suit fittings would we need? What kind of tallit would he be wearing? Who from all of the various important parts of his life would have honors? (Would we be inviting SuperMensch?) Which parts would he be playing on the guitar? How would we fit everyone who wants to be there into the sanctuary? Would there be enough tissues in the world....
And yet, I'm doing none of that preparation.
So yesterday, I made him a Bar Mitzvah Montage. It was one of my favorite parts of preparing for David's Bar Mitzvah. I loved looking at all the photos, glorying in his growth and change, and choosing just the right blend of pictures, videos, and music to represent who he was, who he had become, and who we hoped he would be. Doing the same for Sam...felt like a good project.
It was harder than I thought, and I ended up using a compilation of pictures I had put together over the years, rather than looking at all of them. And of course, it has a different ending than David's.
Montage Sam Bar Mitzvah from Phyllis Sommer on Vimeo.
Along with that, I decided that we should go somewhere with the pain of this date. So I turned my thoughts to how we have always dealt with the big Sam-sized hole in our lives, and I've opened a St. Baldrick's Fundraiser in honor of what would have been Sam's Bar Mitzvah. I hope you'll consider the $18 gift that you might have given to him as a donation to St. Baldrick's, in hope that the next child gets to celebrate a Bar Mitzvah....or whatever fixed milestone they believe in.
Donate here: https://www.stbaldricks.org/fundraisers/sam13