While some knew him as Jonah and others as Mac, we all loved and respected him. And we miss him dearly.

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9 Adar 5770

Dear Jonah,

I remember, when Mom and I studied in Israel for a year (1982-83), someone telling me how much they loved living in a country where you can write the Hebrew date on your checks. I really enjoyed hearing that and, to this day, I too like writing the Hebrew date on letters and notes (albeit alongside the English date).

But it really took me by surprise when the 9th of Adar arrived and, try as I might to let it quietly slip by, I couldn’t. Katie, Aiden, Mom and I had decided that March 5, for this year at least, would be the date we light a candle in your memory. We hadn’t even bought one yet. So when I got home last night … late … about 11:30 pm … and quietly mentioned to Mom that I’d just realized it’s the 9th of Adar, we shared some tears together. And then this morning, Mom and I found a tiny candle (pumpkin-scented … you would have liked that) and have it burning right now to remind us that one year ago, Jewish time, on 9 Adar 5769, we said goodbye to you.

You and Me Purim, 14 Adar 5753 Age 3 (you, not me)

You and Me
Purim, 14 Adar 5753
Age 3 (you, not me)

The 9th of Adar means that Purim is five days away. Such a funny holiday, Purim. A holiday to commemorate something that never actually happened, to celebrate a non-event but one that evokes too many memories of Jewish tragedy across the generations yet, if we do it right, reminds us to savor our celebrations as well.

None of this is lost on me as I complete a year not only of crying for you, for this very real tragedy that has now become part of our family-story, but also of collecting and archiving our memories of you, so that we might always have plenty of words and pictures on hand to commemorate what did actually happen … nineteen years of the wonder and joy that was Jonah Maccabee Dreskin, that was you.

On the 14th of Adar, we will sing and tell jokes and celebrate the goodnesses that can emerge everywhere in our lives. A fictional story will inspire us to do so, as it has inspired so many generations before us. Today, on the 9th of Adar, we will try to do very much the same, this time inspired by the very real story of a young man who took a shaky start in life and leveraged it into a thousand friendships, a thousand hearts you held close, a thousand hearts that held you close.

We miss you terribly, boy. Thank you, though, for sharing that gigantic heart of yours (and those gigantic bear-hugs too). We will cherish all the memories, and you, forever.

9 Adar 5770

6 Responses to “9 Adar 5770”

  • You've already said it best: A thousand hearts…holding you close during this difficult anniversary time.

  • Anonymous:

    I've been thinking of all of you often as this anniversary approaches. I hope that you can comfort one another and be comforted by all those around you. Much love, and best wishes. – Stephanie Clayman

  • Thank you, Manning family. So nice to hear from you. Such fond memories between us, as well. As for knowing Jonah, just think of everything you know about us Dreskins, then add a mischievous spirit bound up with a crazy sense of humor and a heart of gold. That's Jonah Maccabee.

  • Anonymous:

    through your writing and sharing, those of us who were not fortunate enough to actually meet Jonah can feel that we are able to know him. Our hearts are heavy for you and your family as this next few weeks will mark such a huge hole in your lives, but you seem to be able to remember the wonders happier memorys as well.Look around you and accept the love and support of those who love you all and be embraced by them.
    love, julie and steve manning and family

  • My thoughts are with you and Ellen and the kids, today and in the coming weeks. A tough milestone, I'm sure. Much love to you all!

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