L'ilui nishmas Malka Baila
When Malka was so, so sick, I felt that I should be davening for her. It was reiterated recently, to daven again, or more, or renew the tefillos for her. And i did not know what to daven for her. I found it hard to daven for her to get better, and impossible to daven for her to be ... out of pain.
So although I did daven, i felt more heart and more comfort and more doing something when i did something else. Since I heard about Malka's death sentence, I have been trying my hardest to live for her.
It seemed so unfair to me that she would never marry, would never have children, would never clean her own dirty floors or feel that fear that one day, some awful illness would swoop down out of the clear blue nothing and claim her children. That not just had she never experienced that, but that the hope of one day experiencing them had suddenly been snatched away. That suddenly, there wasn;t a future ahead.
So every time I put on a wash-load, or exasperatedly picked up my children's shoes for the umpteenth time, or slowly plodded home with heavy shopping, I thought, 'Malka, this is for you. Malka, you'll never be able to feel this pain, this frustration, this irritation, and so I dedicate it to you. Malka, I swallow this retort as the retort that you will never get to swallow, in your zechus'.
Actually, i do not feel sure that 'in your zechus' is the right phrase. Ok i suppose it is, but what i felt, and still feel, was that i give this whole act over to you, Malka.
Mindfulness is a buzzword, nowadays. I try to avoid cliches, but sometimes they may be true.
For me, when Malka's days were numbered, I began trying to make mine count. But not in the ways you might think. Perhaps it's because it was Malka i was thinking of, and so something grand and brash and flashy would not be appropriate. Because she was never one of those peacock people, the one you noticed straight away, making a splash, achieving great glories. she was one of the unsung heros who deserved to be sung. She made a difference by being Malka. So i did not - do not - feel led to create some big and bright merit or memorial. I feel driven to just be. Just to be me, alive.
Malka, i kiss the children you'll never have. Malka, I live the mundane life that was stolen from you. Malka, the quiet moments and the busy ones, the slices of unremarkable time that together carve out my life, i give those over to you by trying my hardest to be aware of them.
I could create a beautiful dvar torah about Malka dying during the time of sefirat haomer. I could tell you about the significance of counting our days to make our days count. I could tell you that, although Malka was very drugged and asleep much of the time, she made sure to be awake at 9.30 (give or take) every night so that she could count the omer b'zman, which is something that will always stay with me.
But instead, i shall do what we all do. I'll live my life. I'll wash my floors, keep my own temper, fight my small battles and win, or lose, but in the small still voice of the day and the night, i'll think, Malka, this one's for you.