Sweet Rhapsody

Posted on December 26th, 2013

stellazbSome people might say that I shouldn’t keep looking at Stella’s pictures. It will just make it harder to move on.

And others might say that maybe I shouldn’t keep blogging about Stella. That maybe the blog simply becomes an online shrine and I the caretaker.

Perhaps I shouldn’t dwell on reminders of her absence because I need to be able to walk away.

But I can’t do that.

I loved every thing about Stella and I can’t let go.

I love her smile, her laugh, her voice. I loved all the tiny imperfections that make us all unique individuals. So I loved the way her little feet curved as much as the way her eyes would sparkle. I even loved the charming craziness that made her who she was. She would walk into a room where I was reading a book and turn off the light, saying that I didn’t need the light. Yeah, it would drive me insane, but that’s what I loved.

And what I will never forget.

Sure everyone knows about her kindness, her zealousnes about showing appreciation. Her complete modesty and ability to stay in control no matter what was going on around her. In an old file I found a work evaluation from the Children’s Defense Fund, her first job when we were married in Washington, D.C. The evaluation proclaims that when everyone else was panicking over some event, she stayed smiling and calm and  knew what to do. This was in 1990, twenty-four years ago.

And when I was nervously fiddling with the morphine bottles trying to ready an injection without cutting myself on the glass in the middle of the night, she would give me gentle encouragement even though  she was barely concious. “Take a deep breath. Hold it up to the light. Inject it here. You can do this.”

So many memories.

I stumbled on to a video of her and two friends at a Karaoke night singing “Bohemian Rhapsody.” A part of me told me not to watch, yet how could I not?

And there she was a few months before getting sick, smiling and laughing and singing. “I don’t want to die, I sometimes wish I’d never been born before. Carry on, carry on. Because nothing really matters….”  No sh*t.

Fu## that. Where’s the freeking justice in the world???? What the hell happened???

How can I not dwell on memories of this amazing angel with whom I shared most of my days???

I’ve tried to not think about her and get on with life. But you know something? It’s not possible and days with memories — even painful memories — are better than days without.

They say that pain makes you stronger. If that’s true, look out.

Sometimes I really wonder how I can possibly get out of bed in a world without her.

But don’t worry. I do. My mission in life is to take care of the kids. I know they need me, and they will get me.

But beyond that, sometimes all I want to do is stay in bed with the pain sitting on my chest.

Because to skip the pain would mean to forget just how much she meant to me.

And I won’t do that.

Yarden Frankl, Neve Daniel



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  1. carla friedman says:

    Don’t listen to them. Those memories are so precious and make you smile as well as laugh. DO what you feel is best and write about her. When you write you share her with us and your children. Love to you all.

  2. adrienne cohen says:

    there is no formula for grieving – no right way or wrong way. No one can tell you how to do it. you are fighting the fight in the only way you know how. whatever gets you through the day. wish i had known her, but feel like i did a little thru your blogs. thinking of you and your kids. Adrienne

  3. Heather G says:

    keep writing, keep remembering, keep moving…..

  4. linda says:

    Whoever THEY are dont listen to them. Because THEY have no idea what THEY are talking about! Moving on is not without Stella, she is & will always be with you! The time will come when you will laugh & smile about her as much as you cry for her! Those memories can not be erased so embrace them cause they will surely help you get thru this!

  5. Rachel Stern says:

    Who the hell are “they”??? When my husband, Barry, died — I did a lot of things that “they” thought I should not do. “They” are not the ones who lost Stella or Barry. “They” are not the ones who get to dictate to us how we should deal with our grief. You do what you need to do. Time heals. Over time, you will find new things to do, new people to meet, new places to go. But only when YOU are ready and not when “They” are ready.

  6. Iris says:

    You had me at Stella seeing Bohemian Rhapsody. Memories are gifts you get to keep on opening. Remembering Stella–her sweetness and beauty and wisdom-keeps her present–it can only make you stronger.

  7. Julie says:

    Actually writing is extremely cathartic and a very healthy outlet IMHO.

  8. Sharon Cole says:

    It has been but a minute since her passing. I see nothing wrong with you doing whatever it takes for as long as it takes and imagine that you will never stop looking at pictures and writing about Stella…..you just may gradually feel in a different, less painful way. How and when that happens is all on your timeline dear Jordan. So do what YOU need to do.

  9. Sharon Baratt says:

    I agree with Sharon Cole. Go at your own pace. Do what you need to do to get through the process of grieving. We’re here for you.

  10. Adina says:

    Why in the world should “they” have any say at all? When someone you love dies, part of you goes with them, and that’s not something you can forget or move past. You can’t shake that off. Keep remembering, keep writing, and keep healing. You set the timeline, and no one else.

  11. Bill Landau says:

    Since you can’t skip the pain, it is good that it helps you remember Stella. In time, the pain *will* lessen, but only in time. But you’ll still remember Stella.

    Our mesorah only mandates a month of mourning for a spouse, but a year for a parent. Since it is in the normal course of time to lose a parent, but not so much to lose a spouse, it seems it should be the other way around. But what one of my rabbis explained is that you are going to grieve the loss of your husband or wife for a long time, quite naturally, on your own. But because the death of a parent is part of the natural order of things, it is too easy for mortal man to quickly go back to the normal routine, to get used to the loss. So we need the forced grieving of eleven months of kaddish, of a year of avelut.

    So our mesorah is on your side. Keep the pictures up, keep writing about Stella on the blog (although we will all gladly ready whatever you write). We’re here, we’re reading, and we are appreciating the picture of Stella.

  12. Paul Goldstein says:

    Yarden, you do what you do. Well meaning friends and acquaintances give you advice, but nobody is in your shoes but you. Bill Landau writes from sad experience, but he only knows what he went through, so he has greater empathy than most of us. But it’s you and the kids, my friend. While I write this, emails from Facebook and Costco pop up, so the world goes on no matter how we feel. You’ve got a whole lot of support, Yarden. Think about what people say and accept or reject as appropriate. You did everything possible in the world for Stella, and then some, and her nashama knows it and appreciates it.
    I wish I could say more, but I don’t know what to say. So continue on with life and burst with pride when in a few years, G-d willing you have a granddaughter named Stella or Tzuriah.

  13. Greg Neilsen says:

    Yarden, not sure what to say. Stella will always be a part of your life. I’m not sure who is saying you shouldn’t blog or think of Stella. I don’t care what a religion or culture says, the mourning timeline is all yours. I am sure you feel Stellas absence more on some days than others. That is normal. You can’t rewrite the chapters of your life. You and Stella built a life together and that is something to be proud of. You also know more than anyone else that you don’t run by looking in the rear view mirror. I don’t think Stella would want you always looking back all the time, either. Key words- all the time. Cherish, remember, appreciate and honor her memories while you make new ones. Not sure if it will ever get easier to get through the day, but you will. Stella was strong. So are you.

  14. Genendy says:

    I think about you and Stella all the time. I think you should keep writing until you have a book about her. Stay strong. Your amazing.

  15. L says:

    You just lost your wife a month or two ago. I find it absolutely shocking that someone would tell you not to look at pictures or think about your WIFE! If you couldn’t get out of bed ten years from now, then maybe you’d have an issue. But now? Live it, feel it, embrace it. Two months is not long enough to get over a bad haircut, never mind a woman you loved for thirty years.

  16. Hana says:

    Hang in there. Keep writing. It’s fine. It’s your blog. You get to choose.