Sunday, January 29, 2023

8 Shvat




Dear Sonzee, 

Aba just came home from leading minyan at shul, and I just lit your candle(s). I bought one yummy one that smells of mango because I am just not a fan of apple burning and that is what every red candle is. About a month ago HopeKids had an event for bereaved mothers where I made a candle for you, it smells of wine and I cannot remember what else. I intended to pick it up before today, but that didn't happen. They haven't even called to remind me, so I can guess someone warned them that bereaved moms avoid a lot of things. So today I walked to CVS, smelled all the candles, and picked the one that made me feel the happiest.  Then after I got home and saw the 2 yahrtzeit candle holders sitting empty I had a mild panic attack and proceeded to Instacart 4 more candles. They arrived in perfect time and so now 3 candles and 2 battery small candles are flickering by the picture window in the kitchen with pictures of you.

These double anniversary dates suck the air out of my entire body, and the ability to hold back tears becomes a daunting task to manage over a 5 day period. My ability to care about anything is close to non-existent and I want to take people by the shoulders when they focus on the benign minuscule dumb things they consider important and tell them they clearly need something major to happen in their lives if they think XY&Z is that important.  I pray for all of the hockey teams we play Friday, I am not sure coffee and lollipops are going to keep me in check should someone actually say something dumb about 11-year-olds playing hockey and commenting on the refereeing...PERSPECTIVE is what I want to shout!

Today marks 3 years on the Hebrew calendar. 3 years ago on this Hebrew date, you decided it was the day for you to go to Gan Eden. I remember I chuckled when I saw how it was also my Hebrew birthday, you would be sassy like that. I am just thankful that you didn't choose Laeya's, that was my fear the entire time you were in Hospice care. Maybe it was your way of bringing this birthday onto my mind since I never focused on it all that much? I have now known when it has fallen for the last 3 years, so kudos to you, but other than that, it is really just your day.

What have you been up to for the last 3 years? Do you focus on this date more than the English one? Do you celebrate with a joyous celebration? Do you ignore this date altogether? I wish I knew. I wish I had some insight. It is hard to believe I haven't been part of your day-to-day life for the last 3 years. I would ask how that can even make sense, but I know the answer, it doesn't. A mother shouldn't be without her child for any amount of time. A mother should know what is going on, especially since you are only 7. 

In case you are wondering, my heart is still just as broken since you left. Actually, that is not entirely true, it is more broken now that I fully understand that it won't ever heal itself. The years will continue to go by, but my heart and really the ability to fully live life left with you 3 years ago. I hope you are flying free and living it up wherever you are! I hope you are at peace and free of pain and all the suffering you had to endure here. I hope you know you are thought about every second of every day and that you are still forever loved here. I hope you know just how much you are missed!

Anyway, my love, I miss you and love you! Please come and visit!

Until next time.

Love always, 
Ema



The Mighty Contributor

Monday, January 23, 2023

155 weeks

Dear Sonzee,

Today is the last Monday before your 3 year Jewish deathaversary. The Friday after will be your English date, which means that next weeks letter will be summarizing the last week of the 3rd year without you here. I will try to focus on today, the 155th Monday since you were last in my arms.

This last week was one of those jumbled crazy couldn’t get my act together sort of weeks. That tends to happen after a shortened work week when we don’t have school or work on a Monday, which was exactly what last week was. We drove back from Tzvi’s hockey tournament Monday after his last game. They came in 3rd place but no medals were given out. I got him a shirt and a sweatshirt though so he didn’t leave empty handed. He scored 2 times last weekend and got some assists. He also had 2 penalties (in one game) and one of them was actually related to his hockey play and the other was because he was angry that another player threw him into the goal net and then skated off so he retaliated. I don’t ever know if I should support his ability to defend and stand up for himself or tell him that makes no sense. But alas, he is 11 and it doesn’t matter what I tell him.

Tuesday-Thursday was back to the usual grind, insane evening sports and activity schedule for your siblings and Laeya turned 13 on Wednesday. I got new yard signs for the front so I don’t have to keep paying Card my yard and she loved it. It’s insane she is a teenager. It’s insane she turned 10 when you started to die. 

Shabbas I was just so blah and exhausted from life and grief that I sat on the couch and slept or read all day. At night I ended up doing some needle point while I watched the girls play Nintendo and aba and tzvi went to a Suns game. I was surprised with how much I slept and rested that I still was able to go to sleep at a normal hour. 

Sunday we all got up to take Noam to his last little howlers practice. Tzvi had a game initially slotted but it was moved to another date because the team was in a tournament. We then went to the Fitchew’s (they were the ones who came to help clean your street) and Mr, Richard taught us about gun safety and we got to go shooting. For me it was like skydiving, I’ve done it, but I have no desire to do it again, unlike everyone else in the house who wants their own gun.

Anyway baby girl. That leads me to today. I miss you a lot and wish I could see you!

Come and visit.

Until next time,

Love always,
Ema 

The Mighty Contributor

Wednesday, January 18, 2023

Dear Sonzee: January 18, 2020

Dear Sonzee, 

3 years ago today was Shabbat. You had spiked a fever and aba and I spent the day doing what we did quite often when it came to your care during that period, arguing over the plan.  The initial plan we followed when you first got your central line and ran a fever over 100.4 was a fast (4 min 21 seconds) ride to PCH ED. The secondary developed plan initiated by myself was no more hospitals. It wasn't a decision that was implemented lightly and while it was something that aba was not fully on board with, when you didn't need to go to the ED, he didn't argue the plan. But then January 18, 2020, happened.

The night before when you spiked your fever I casually ignored it. I figured aba wouldn't notice anyway, he isn't the one who usually identifies fevers until I mention something and then he attacks with the thermometer. I personally never need one. When he said you were hot I said it didn't matter because I was not taking you to the hospital.  There were multiple reasons for that, the first being that deep down I knew you weren't sick. The second reason was that I knew if I took you to the hospital they were going to do numerous tests, cause you discomfort, make you upset, and possibly kill you (or speed it up knowing what we know now). The third was because it was your sister's 10th birthday and due to the above I wasn't going to miss her special day. 

When you woke up with a fever Saturday the argument continued, except the one thing that aba always did was say that he felt should be done, but he wasn't the one who was going to be taking you. If he really wanted you to go, he would have taken you on Shabbat, but since he wasn't doing that, deep down I knew I could stand my ground. So standing my ground I did, but it would get more difficult the more signs you began to show that something was definitely not right. 

That night we kept you away from her surprise sleepover party just in case you had something contagious. We had told all of her friends that you had a fever in case their parents didn't want them to be exposed. Tonight I wouldn't share any of the pictures I took of you because I knew if it were me I wouldn't want those pictures posted. 

While I do believe that you were thankful for my choices on your behalf, there are random moments where I doubt myself and think about "what if". I remind myself your poor little body was exhausted and you were just a shell of the little girl you had been. My only goal for your life was for you to not suffer...I hope you have finally found your peace.

Until next time.

Love always, 
Ema

The Mighty Contributor

Tuesday, January 17, 2023

January 17, 2020



 January 17, 2020....

The 17th was the night Sonzee felt hot... It was Shabbat and I didn’t want to know what her temperature was... I figured we could ignore it... if we knew with her central line that it was above 100.4 then there would be the guilt that “we had” to go to the hospital... but we also knew we weren’t going to do any extreme interventions....we also had history on our side of her not actually being septic with her central line and we knew she had been potentially exposed to the flu at school so the hospital wouldn’t have done anything except tons of tests to confirm or deny that theory....  

We went with the preliminary diagnosis of the flu ourselves... except we would figure out within 48 hours no other flu like symptoms would ever present.....


January 17, 2021-2023

I should’ve known things were really off... but then again, I did. I had known for months. It was why I kept taking pictures and videos - to “prove” to someone, anyone, that she wasn’t herself.  

Again, what good would it have done to have someone agree with me? They would have suggested taking her to the hospital... I had already decided NO... Sam was not exactly on board but we always agreed on our hardline and we knew in certain situations it would come to crossing that line, so it was best to avoid that hard line if we knew it was on the horizon. So the official beginning of her end was on our doorsteps.

The next 17 days would be the worst days of our lives. I sometimes wonder how our marriage survived her life and her death and especially those 17 days…I sometimes wonder that about myself as well. I would spend the next week fiercely advocating on her behalf like I had her entire life, but in a completely different manner…it’s something I am proud of myself over to this day. I have zero regrets, and in the end, anyone who “doubted” me then, has praised me since…but the most important thing is that we honored her wishes, we did what was best for her, and I know deep down in my soul, we did exactly what she wanted.

Monday, January 9, 2023

153 weeks

Dear Sonzee, 

Today marks 153 weeks. In three more weeks, it will mark 3 full years of Mondays (and will be your Hebrew deathaversary) since you left my arms. I cannot figure out if this year is more manageable than last year, or the year before. The jury is still out because grief has been different each of the years, but more of that in 3 weeks.

This last week I have been making sure to sit with my grief a bit each day and write about my feelings. I have completed 9 days out of my lofty goal of 365. Truthfully, there is so much I could say and the emotions vary from second to second. I don't know my exact purpose, but I hope it gives others a little insight into grief. I hope it helps other grievers to take a moment and honor their grief as well. For me, I don't know what I expect for it to do, but maybe acknowledging my grief will remove my constant desire to hide it from others because I don't want them to see how difficult it is, or because deep down I am afraid of where the acknowledgment will take me. Who knows, maybe after acknowledging my feelings about your death, I will be ready for you to visit me!?

This last week Meena had her first week of being on the Team. The adjustment for this competitive gymnastics/hockey life has been real let me tell you. Her official schedule is 4 hours MWF, because of Shabbat we sent her to right before candle lighting. It was rough in the Zaila house last week that is for sure. Between your brother's late hockey nights and her gymnastics, it is a bit insane. So far tonight things are turning out better, no tears, but none of your big siblings are asleep and it is 10:30pm). The little man was sent to bubbies so he has been asleep for over 3 hours and at least he gets to go to sleep at a normal bedtime one time a week. 

Anyway baby girl. I miss you a lot. I love you more. I wish I could see what you are up to.

Until next time.

Love always, 
Ema
We head to California in 3 days for the hockey tournament, hope you come to visit. 


The Mighty Contributor