Crossing the bridge
I live between two worlds, connected by a bridge. I cross it back and forth many times every day. On the one side is my world that "was" in which Ben and our family lived until his death; the other, my world that "is" in which Ben's siblings, old and new, other family members and I have lived ever since the dawn of the following day when G-d renewed the world, but sadly without Ben included.
The passing of unmeasured time can benumb, making us feel as if different days of "different worlds" are all the same. This particular yahrzeit marks the four thousandth, seven hundredth and forty-fifth day of my world that "is" during which not one single soul has reported a sighting of Ben crashing his skateboard into the street curbs of Skokie, Illinois.
We can calculate the same amount of time but in years by adding the Hebrew letter yud (which carries a numerical value of ten) to the Hebrew letter gimel (equivalent to three):
10 ... Yud
+3 .... Gimel
13 Yud Gimel yahrzeit, thirteen years ago
The sun shone brightly on my way home from a long walk when I happened by the softball field and bleachers where, years before, Ben and I spent many a summer's evening watching the "forty somethings" struggle to reinvigorate their once dextrous softball skills from the days and years of youth gone by.
Seated on a short section of the bleacher where the intermittent sunshine had just barely managed to warm up for the short duration of my stay, I scribbled furiously for several minutes to see if I could stir some memories that might reflect where “I’m at”, as they say in the vernacular.
After leaving in search of warmer temperatures, I noticed how relatively few in number were the brown, yellow and red leaves among the early fallen. I looked and looked but failed to spot any pretty enough to take home for Zmira, Hallel and Guri, my ten-month old triplets.
A poem for Ben, Yud Gimel, 10 + 3 years ago
Since we returned thee to G-d,
from wherein our world we were to forever live,
there hadn't ever been a moment when I didn't think ...
my life for yours I wouldst give.
Far fewer were the raindrops that fell
than from weeping eyes that morning shed.
Yet, how encouraged we feel to now learn, Ben,
to olden souls wilt thou soon be wed.
Ben, I do not know the words that may yet be,
or of anyone's love greater than ours for thee.
But since that day, I can at last now say ...
'Son, you were ours for the good.'