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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Each year, Craig Taubman publishes “Jewels of Elul” online as part of the Jewish community’s preparation for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur during the Hebrew month of Elul, which immediately precedes the High Holy Days. This year, Craig’s theme is “The Art of Beginning … Again,” and he asked if I would contribute a piece that conveys my family’s journey and renewal in the aftermath of Jonah’s death. This is the piece I wrote.



My daughter Katie and I were trying to navigate our way to a restaurant located one state over. The phone’s GPS had given out and we were lost (typical when I’m driving). I then decided to let my instincts guide me (a very foolish choice) and, to my and my daughter’s endless surprise, somehow found a stunningly direct route to the restaurant. Katie remarked, “In what lifetime could you ever have found this on your own?”

My 19-year-old son Jonah had died only a month earlier. This was actually one of his favorite restaurants. Katie and I had decided to go there in his memory. And we were certainly wondering if he had played some role in guiding us there.

A year and half since Jonah’s death, I’m now beginning to understand my process of grief and recovery. Each and every day, I ache a bit, I cry a bit, and I take a tiny step forward back into my life. Sometimes it’s to look for evidence that Jonah is still with me – either metaphysically by my side, or profoundly resident deep within my heart – and sometimes it’s to live a moment or two without his laying claim to my entire spirit (sometimes I’m actually able to come out from under the shadow of my life without him).

Amidst Adversity, Blessings Abound Hanukkah 2009

Amidst Adversity, Blessings Abound
Hanukkah 2009

Each of us is the recipient of so many blessings. But being fragile, being breakable, not every moment’s going to be blessed. After the hurt, I think we pick ourselves up, limp if we have to, and (step by step) get back onto our path. We begin again. After all, the blessings haven’t gone away. And no matter how poor our navigational abilities, no matter what route we select, before long we’re bound to bump into a blessing or two.


You can read all of the “Jewels of Elul” at www.jewelsofelul.com.

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