Posted on December 1st, 2013

meKids, please don’t read this one. Please? Dads have to have their moments, but I will always take care of you. You know that.

Now stop reading.


Do you know the most enjoyment you can get out of a delicious cake? It’s not what you think, unless you really think.

We’re at one of the best hotels at the Dead Sea, maybe one of the best in Israel. I thought it would be great to get away from the dark cloud that I see hanging over my house and over Neve Daniel. An escape. Literally, an oasis in the desert.

But you don’t escape. You can’t. Everywhere I look I see happy couples and families. Good for them. I’m glad they are having a good time. But it is like a knife turning in my side. What the hell did I ever do to deserve this?? Anyone???

When we were at a hotel last time, I remember going down the buffet line and finding something that I knew Stella would enjoy. The best part was not eating the chocolate mousse cake myself — it was hearing Stella say “mmmm” and seeing her smile when I gave her a piece. Like anything, real enjoyment in life comes from sharing experiences with someone. And after sharing experiences with a special someone for almost thirty years, life just seems bleak and empty and dark now.

You know something? I hope that no readers of this blog ever experience true love. (although I know some have and already know what I’m talking about. You’re forever in the club that no one wants to join. This is not for you.) True love is not holding hands and dancing in the park. That’s good, but it’s not at the top of the scale. I would rate even the happiest marriages on my own scale of an 8 out of 10. No, you don’t want to achieve the 10. Trust me.

What is true love? True love is holding your wife’s tattered body over the toilette while she mutters nonsense — AND STILL LOVING HER. True love is counting the seconds between each breath and wondering if you’ve just seen her die — again and again and again and again. Day after night after day after night. True love is giving your spouse a shower and then tucking her into bed loaded with morphine and waiting till you’re at a friend’s house to scream your head off because of what you have seen happen to the body you once adored and held close. Trust me — NO ONE WANTS THIS EXPERIENCE.

And then you try and go to a hotel to “have some fun” and “get away.” But how much fun can you have without your best friend? You can look at the sky and call her name and talk to her and hear her telling you that everything will be ok, but you just don’t believe it. Because the days and nights get worse, not better.

Because no matter how close your friends are or even how close you hug your children — you are alone. Completely cut off because no one who has not been in your shoes can really understand what it’s like.

And after your “vacation” you will send the kids back to school and go back to work and buy groceries and walk the dog and just try and live.

But the cake will never taste the same.

Yarden Frankl, Ein Bokek, Israel


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  1. Rachel Stern says:

    Wow! Your sharing of these thoughts is such an eye opener for me and eerie as well. Yes, I have sometimes wished I had never fallen in love with Barry, never had those ten blissful years we had together — because had I NOT had them, then I would not know what I am now missing and would not be in as much pain over it. It has been five years. And yes, the pain is easier to bear — but it never goes away completely. I am sorry.

  2. Iris says:

    yarden, i’m so sorry for your pain. I wish, everyone wishes, you didn’t have to
    feel this way.

  3. Bill Landau says:

    Yarden –

    No, the cake will never taste the same. Life will never be the same. And, for a while at least, it probably will get worse. But, as hard as it is for you to believe right now, it will get better. You have to hand in there for your kids, so you will hang in there. And, in time, it will get better. It will never be the same, but it will be better than it is now.

    And yes, I lifted Sheila on to the toilet, and wiped her ass afterward (and learned, even before dealing with daughter, always “front to back”). And wondered if there would be a breath after the next one. And I would not give up one minute of it, if it meant giving up one second of the good time.

    One of the things that helped me was grief counseling. I would suggest you consider it. If you can find someone who also does family grief counseling, all the better, as the kids may need some help working through it.

    And, finally, if you want/need to talk to someone who has been through it – differently, because everybody’s experiences are different, but still – call me any time.


  4. A. says:

    I getcha. 🙁

  5. Hana says:

    Right. I hear you. Hang in there. We are all with you, and some of us have done this too. We are here, even though you are indeed alone. But at least, we hear your cries and know your tears.

  6. Rachel Stern says:

    Grief counseling is a great idea. I used that too. But what I really wanted but never got — was to talk with others who went through what I went through. Which is partially why I am reading your blog and responding to your posts. Your posts almost totally mirror my own experience. My hope is that I can offer you something that I did not get. I know that for me, had I been given the opportunity to talk with other widows/widowers, the aloneness (not the same as loneliness, which I also felt) would have felt lessened.

  7. Gary says:

    No, the chocolate cake will never taste the same. And maybe that is good. But over time, you will have some amazing pecan pie and chocolate chip cookies that will rock your taste buds. It will take some time and miles, but it will come.

  8. Bracha says:

    Your post reminded me of this piece in the NY Times.

  9. elana says:

    Dear Yarden. Last year at the tanach days in har etzion the Rav Yuval Sherlo ‘, who was in “evel” for his mother at the time remarked that any great love ends in tragedy- because one of the partners is going to be widowed at some time.
    I was sitting next to my mother who lost my father passing a year of cancer
    and was afraid to look at her.
    what keeps her going is taking one day at a time.
    המון כוח

  10. Peter says:

    To be honest with you I, TG, have not the vaguest idea of how you are feeling and what you are going through. To be honest with myself I do not have a 10/10 relationship with my wife as you clearly had. So there is nothing I know of to say to you or to do, that can help you in any way. What I can say-may selfishly, is that your very impressively articulate blogs are a true inspiration to me (and no doubt many, many others) and that 8/10 is simply not good enough. Your blogs clearly show Stella as being a very special, unique person. To me your blogs show yourself as being an extraordinary unique person. Thank you.
    (ps-i am a social internet delinquent without a FB page and dont follow any blogs-except yours.)