Letter of Comfort

Jane Trigere, Chappaqua NY 10514

April 4th, 1991

Dear Helene,

I was not feeling well the week of the Shiva; I’m sorry I didn’t come to visit you. The news of your mother’s death was conveyed to me, and I passed it on to other members of Bet Torah by phone.

Mourning and recovery sometimes takes a great deal longer than one imagines or expects. The death of a parent is a monumental event, and if this is the second parent, it is an even more profound threshold in our lives. I remember well the night in Northern Israel when I learned my father had died. Walking back to my apartment under a star-laden sky, I felt the fearsome truth that nothing stood between me and the Heavens. I was now the oldest generation…

The nature of death is that there is “nothing to show for it.” Birth produces a baby, and marriage, a new household; death is absence. All your friends, even the most insightful ones, may forget the enormity of your loss. The entire event is happening inside of you. In addition, most of us these days do not live near our parents, and therefore their permanent departure takes longer to grasp and to absorb.

I feel for you, and wanted you to know that I know some of the things you are going through. I miss my parents only occasionally now; I think of them fairly often, but I don’t cry as readily as I once did. We adjust; it’s human—thank God.

You are so lucky to have such a wonderful family… the one you created is the one I know. I’m sure they’ll make the mending easier with their love.

In friendship,