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Short Story: Leave a Message

M.C. Millman

It’s not hard to understand why I spent all that time looking for a message. All it took was for my husband to quote one Zohar: “Did you know that 40 days before he is niftar, a person’s neshamah is aware that he will pass away?” No, I wasn’t aware. But had Perel Rena a”h, my daughter who was suddenly nifteres at the age of 18, been aware?

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

roses To have someone suddenly ripped from the fabric of the family unit is a shock so painful, one forgets to breathe. Every heartbeat screamed her name, and my first waking thought as well as my last was always of her. I’m not sure when the clamor of pain began to ebb, and I will never admit that it has subsided, because that would be a new pain entirely of its own, and I am not looking for new pain, only to be able to get through what I’ve been given.

But one all-consuming passion that I was finally, after three years, able to release, was my search for a message. A goodbye note, a last word, anything that could tell me that my daughter had somehow known and understood and accepted what was going to be.

So search I did. I looked in all the obvious places: in her drawers, and on her computer, which she had used to do so much chesed — among other things, creating awards for the shul’s “No Talking” campaign, created as a zchus for her refuah shleimah.

As I clicked through the files, my heart stopped. I came to a file named “Yocheved Rus’s Bas Mitzvah Card.” Here, at last, was proof. Perel Rena must have known she was going to miss her youngest sister’s bas mitzvah. She made her a card in advance. I opened the file. And yes, it was a card, and yes, she had made it for her youngest sister. But it was designed for her sister to give to a classmate. I continued my search.


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