To all of you
“I want to say to all of you that are reading this right now: You are not allowed to lose hope, because maybe a miracle will happen. DO NOT LOSE HOPE.” — Malka Chana Roth
We interrupt these re-runs to bring you a new real time post. I started this blog seven and a half years ago, because the world as I had always known it seemed to be coming apart around me, with Jeff’s terminal diagnosis and the repercussions it had on our comfortable life. Later, in the 20 month period during which I lost both my beloved parents and my husband, who had been my world for 38 years, the life I had known was irretrievably GONE. And more great losses were in store for me, as others disappeared from my life, seemingly unable to walk for very long with me through months and years of numbness and anger and sorrow that never seemed to end.
So for me, there is a curious parallel now in the events taking place in the world. I’m experiencing an odd sense of deja vu. Strangely, while everyone else is talking of feeling isolated, I am less isolated than I have been for the past five years. Suddenly my personal experiences are writ large across the entire world, as unprecedented catastrophe overtakes everyone. The isolation I have endured since Jeff’s death has become my ally in these present circumstances, for which I find myself strangely well prepared. I know how to live in hope, against all the odds.
Reading over the re-published posts from seven years ago, many have commented how unusually relevant they seem now. That’s maybe the best thing to come out of my years of sorrow and confusion, because there has never been a time when defeating despair is more important than it is now. I continue to re-publish these posts in an effort to shine whatever feeble light I can from my flickering candle, into the darkness that has engulfed us.
Cynics might point out that Malka Roth, who was a loving sibling to a child with severe disabilities, lost her own life to an act of violence and hatred that killed many others along with her. Her words have an innocence that makes me weep. I think of her kindred spirit, Anne Frank, who persisted in optimism despite being sequestered indefinitely, hiding for her life. These young women paid the ultimate price at the hands of cruel murderers. Were they wrong to live in faith that things would be better someday? I think not.
So along with Malka and Anne and countless other brave souls who endured the unthinkable, I say to you: do not lose hope. Stay well. Show kindness. Read, enjoy music, connect with loved ones, write journals and letters and poems. And do what my hero, Fred Rogers, told children to do after 9/11: look for the helpers. There are many on the front lines, doctors and first responders and grocery store clerks, showing up at personal risk to help us all get through this. And we will get through it. You are not allowed to lose hope.