Reflections by Devoiry Saull

Many of us have moments when our past experiences come back to us in uncomfortable ways. For me, the summer is a time that brings back so many emotions.

It’s summer again.

Time to let go…have fun…relax…and take it easy somewhat.

But for me, this summer brings back so much. So many emotions and I’m nervous.

I try not to worry. But this…it can’t be helped.

My younger brother Shalom a”h passed away in the summer, two weeks before his sixteenth birthday. He was not sick; it all happened so suddenly, without a warning. He was climbing a tree in camp together with some of his friends when, after ten minutes, the branch he was sitting on cracked and he fell down. He was not doing anything dangerous. This was something all the campers did. It was quite obvious that HE was chosen.

After he fell, CPR was done on him all the way to the hospital and after shema and vidui were said, his soul was returned to the Creator. He was gone…forever.

Then came the summer when my next brother, Yitzy, turned sixteen. I was a bundle of emotions.

There he was, getting ready to go to the same camp he had gone to all these years and the same camp Shalom had gone to…until he passed away. For me, this was almost as if we were replaying a scene from the past and I was so afraid of a repeat kind of situation.

I kept this silent prayer in my heart, never expressing it to anyone and especially not to my brother Yitzy.

It went something like this. Yitzy, please be extra careful this summer. Don’t do anything dangerous. Stay safe. I need you to come home at the end of summer alive, healthy and well.

As he packed, I thought, I hope you come home together with your suitcase, not like Shalom whose suitcase was sent home, his clothing packed up by his friends at camp.

When he left to camp, that silent prayer became a little stronger, turning into a burning request, begging Hashem, without words, to keep Yitzy safe.

Strangely enough, once he was in camp I was a lot calmer. It wasn’t a constant thought like the days leading up to his departure to camp. He was there and that was it.

And when he came home from camp, with his suitcase, with his stories and rambles of all he did while he was there, I was so happy, so relieved. He made it through that time and there was no repetition, no replaying of sad scenes, just regular, normal, coming-back-from camp scenes.

That’s what I was hoping for. My deepest, silent prayers had been answered.

I think many of us siblings probably go through this or something similar. When we ourselves, or another brother or sister reach the age of the one who passed away, our anxious feelings remain hidden within. The same goes for any of our siblings who find themselves in a situation similar to the one who was niftar.

It’s a worry in our hearts. But we won’t say it out loud because it sounds…too much. We don’t know how others will react so we keep quiet.

This is the way it works with sibs – our emotions aren’t the same as parents who lost a child and the loss affects each of us differently.

I need to remind myself constantly that Hashem is protecting and watching over me every minute of the day. It is normal to be afraid of the same thing happening again. But along with those common fears, I need to carry this thought with me. Nothing happens by itself. Hashem is taking care of me. Hashem is here with me.

I can’t give any promises. I can’t know what will happen. But I can comfort myself with the thought that there is Someone watching over me and taking care of me. Always. And that everything is under the infinitely powerful and perfect control of Someone who loves me and only does good for me.

I hope you can, too.


This article was printed in My Outlet, Volume 1, Issue 1, September 2012. My Outlet is a project of Our Tapestry. All rights reserved.

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