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The Perfect Sukkah October 22, 2007

Posted by makingyourdashcount in death, Judaism, Life Journey, mourning, parenting, Sarah Krause, Spiritual Musings, Sukkah, Sukkot, Thoughts, Uncategorized.
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Even though it was time to give it away, we cried when we did. The sukkah has been hanging on a wall of our garage since taking it down the year that Anna became a Bat Mitzvah. It was our first and our last sukkah. Sarah took tremendous joy in erecting and decorating this structure. It fit perfectly on our back porch and was adorned with real and artificial fruits and vegetables. Sarah loved building it and decorated her first and only sukkah with unadulterated joy. I still see her tippietoed on a chair arranging plastic grapes as perfectly as plastic grapes can be arranged and still look natural. (Some things fit in sukkahs that have no place in homes.) Complete with candy and the popcorn balls I remembered so vividly from my childhood, she took pride giving her little sister the perfect sukkah.

The year she died, resurrecting the sukkah and its fake fruit meant leaving Sarah behind; we couldn’t do it. The next Sukkot came and went without our being ready and then this year. No sukkah. One needs joy to erect a sukkah. Although Sukkot is one of those holidays that always brought me joy; since our loss, it still eludes us.

Our simple wood sukkah is part of our history, not our present. Those simple pieces of wood only make me cry.

I feel good about giving it to these friends. Newly married, not quite to the point of building their family, the sukkah will bring them joy for many years. As I wipe my tears as he drives our sukkah away,I know that giving it away was the right thing to do. Complete with candy and fruit and their own memories, again it will become the perfect sukkah.


Honoring our Children February 14, 2007

Posted by makingyourdashcount in cremation, death, funeral, memorials, mourning, parenting, scholarships.
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Quarterly, a group of women I know gather for “tea” to discuss the current issue of Lilith Magazine. The coordinator emailed me to let me know that the the article entitled “How Three Grieving Mothers Became Activists,” is on the short list for discussion, asking if I would be ok with it. My response to her was something along the lines of, “I think all grieving mothers become activists of sorts; in fact I think all mothers become activists, when it comes to causes surrounding their children.”

Granted, very few of us make national news with our causes. The notoriety of Candy Lightner, who founded MADD after losing her 13 year old daughter, Cari, to a drunk driver and Cindy Sheehan, a visible anti war activist since losing her son Casey in Iraq, is the exception rather than the rule. I would venture to say, however, that these women reflect the spirit of other mothers who have lost their children, if not our specific causes.

Since Sarah died, I have searched for an appropriate cause to honor our daughter. There is no easy disease to choose; none of them are quite appropriate, since there was never a positive diagnosis. For awhile, I adopted the cause of appreciating relationships and feel I made ( and continue to make) small differences for a few people. As important as that is, there is a wanting that leaves me unfufilled.

Parents do everything we can to honor our deceased children.

  • We honor them at their funerals; we honor them through our causes. We honor them through our actions.
  • Parents honor their deceased children publicly and privately.
  • We honor them with what we wear; we honor them with what we say.

And in this honor, I have found my cause: connecting new parents on this path with the experiences of those of us who have been traveling it before and now with them. The end goal is to compile and publish our experiences to help others.

If you know someone who would like to share the things they have done to honor their deceased children, please introduce them to me through my site. I would love to hear about their children and their experiences. Whether it is a new family tradition, the color of the roses they planted or issues with their million dollar scholarships, I would love to hear their joys, challenges and tribulations.

In the end, I hope by sharing we can all honor our children that much better.