Tuesday, February 1, 2011


I am in the hospital awaiting the birth of my firstborn. The pain is intense. No one prepared me for this. I knew there would be pain, but I didn't really know. How could I know? How could I even imagine this agony?

My baby is not yet ready to be born. I am told to walk around for about an hour. I walk a few feet, stopping every few minutes as a spasm of pain rips through my body, and I collapse into the nearest chair. An hour… I can't bear an hour of this.

"I want to go home." The words come out in a choked sob.

My husband looks concerned.

"Home?" He seems confused. "Do you want to have the baby at home?"

"No." My voice is hoarse. I have no strength to explain. "I changed my mind. I just wanna go home. I changed my mind about this. Just take me home, please."

We stay. It's a boy. A beautiful, healthy boy. We name him after my grandfather – the first great grandson named after him.

Recently, my husband and I are honored with kvatter. The baby is my nephew. I hold him close, and look into his eyes. He looks back at me, his gaze calm and steady. He is beautiful. I give him a quick kiss and hand him to my husband.

His name is announced. He is named after my grandfather, another great grandchild joining the many who now bear his name.

A relative of mine passed away last week. He was a good person. And too young to die. I listen to his wife and daughters talk about him. There is so much to say…so many stories…so much good…so many lives he's touched. I blink away my tears. I have so many questions. He was so young.

I look at his daughters, and I know that they will name children after him, and their children will name children after him. They will be proud and honored to carry his name. His memory will endure.

I did two taharas one night this week. The first one is difficult and we are shorthanded. It takes longer than usual. When we are done, I am tired. But I feel good. We prepare for the second. I ask for the Jewish name. No one knows it. There is no family to ask.

I am sad. Sad for this woman who lived 98 years, but died alone. Sad that she left no one…no one to sit shivah for her, no one to remember her, no one to eternalize her memory, no one to carry her name.

And suddenly, it is very important to me that I make my mark on this world, somehow…that I touch lives…that I make my children proud to perpetuate my name. That I am remembered.

I have a lot of work ahead of me, and I have no idea how much time I have to achieve that goal.

But I am ready to start.


  1. Amazing! Beautifully said.

  2. Poignant and beautiful post.
    Thank you.

  3. Beautiful.

    You touched on the essence of humanity. It's like we all "know" how temporary life is, we feel it whizzing by. And some of us have the depth, the wisdom, the desire to make our lives more than an irrelevant blip, to leave a "name" that lives on way past our meager visit in this world.

    I guess "Mystery", you can find comfort and solace in knowing that you touch and inspire all of us, and presumably all you know in your real life too!

    Thank you!!

  4. (My mother said the same thing when she was in labor with her first.)

    Like the previous posters said, beautiful post. I think you don't realize how much you touch and inspire, much as I'm sure the people who have passed on didn't know that either. Unfortunately, people often wait until after a person passes on to recognize and remember the good of the person and how he/she will be missed.

    May you have until 120 years old to continue touching and making a difference in people's lives.

  5. Touching and thought provoking...
    Mazal Tov on the birth.

  6. Wow. That is a really touching post.

    People wish they could live forever. But since we know that we can't, the "next best" is to do something to make sure we remain alive even after we pass on to the next world.

    That's our job. It's scary to think about because it's a reminder that there's no guarantee and you never know when your last day will be. But reminding yourself that you want to leave a legacy for your children - that's important!

    Reminds me of this quote I just read, The true meaning of life is to plant trees, under whose shade you do not expect to sit.
    - Nelson Henderson

    And I'm echoing SiR's bracha to you!

  7. Chav and G6...

    Thank you!


    Thank you. It's nice knowing that I touch people here. I'd love to be able to touch people in real life, too.


    Wouldn't it be nice if we'd get to hear that before we're gone?
    Amen, and thank you!

    Scribbling Citychick...

    Thank you!


    That's a great quote. And thank you.