Stella’s Last Gift

Posted on May 25th, 2014

I crawled into bed and gave her a kiss goodnight. I thought she was sleeping, but she was awake.

“I need to tell you something before you go to sleep.”

“What is it? Are you feeling ok? Do you need anything?”

“No, listen. I think this is it. I don’t think I’ll wake up in the morning.”

“Don’t you say that. Not now. I’m not ready. Please hold on. Just a few more days.”

“Listen, please. It’s ok. I’m ready. But you have to listen to me. This is very important for you to hear. I want you to promise me that when I am gone, you will find someone to share your life with. I am not worried about dying. But I am worried about what will happen to you and the kids. I know you. You cannot be alone. You need to find someone.”

“No. Don’t say that. No way. I can’t imagine myself with anyone else. Don’t say these things. I’ll call the Doctor in the morning. Maybe there’s one more thing…”

“I know how you feel. I just want you to remember what I am telling you. At some point, you will remember this conversation. Now kiss me and say good-bye, just in case it happens tonight. I love you…..”


I woke up one morning after the shiva. I was in pain that she was no longer with me. All the dreadful nightmares had come true in the end. But even as I felt pain at missing her, I felt a new pain.

I could not bear the idea that I was alone.

I hated getting up out of bed. I focused on the fact that I had to help the children. They had their whole lives in front of them. For them, I would live. But I hated life.

I would take the dog out by the water tower late at night and scream. I didn’t want anyone to see me. But I didn’t really care if they did. I would even put on one of Stella’s sweaters under my coat and look up at the stars and scream until I had no voice left. The dog would sit and wait for my rage to die down and we would both walk back to the house, drained.

I hated that no one, not even my closest friends could really understand how I felt. Many people tried to comfort me. But it was impossible. I felt more alone than I ever imagined could be possible. Beyond the children, what was the point of life any more?

There were times I wanted to die.

People came. People called. People sent e-mails. Everyone meant well. I could tell they were all at a loss because they didn’t really know what to say. But the truth was it didn’t matter. Words meant nothing. No one understood what it was like when you have to watch your life partner slowly and painfully dying…

But someone did.

I received an e-mail from someone who had read my blog post. And I knew instantly that she understood.

Because she had also watched her love die from this horrible disease. She knew the darkness and the cold and the feeling of being utterly alone in the world, left with the responsibility of raising children in a world that no longer had any color.

She had been in the pit and somehow had pulled herself out.

I responded and we started e-mailing back and forth. Then, at some point, I’m not really sure when, I called her on the phone.

And we started talking.

All the time.

And during the times when I crashed and was laying on the floor thinking that life was simply too hard, she was the one I would call. And her voice could pick me up and get me back on my feet again.

During the darkest times, she was the one who could open the door a crack and let some light in.

And for days and then weeks, we would speak, every night.

And very slowly. I started seeing color in the world again…..


Enough for now. More on this later. It is a story that is still being written.


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  1. Ruti Mizrachi says:

    May you find happiness, for long, healthy years. I like to think I know my old spinning buddy well enough to think that she was absolutely sincere.

  2. Ahava Emunah says:

    I know Stella wants this for you, Yarden
    Faith. Love. Happiness.

  3. Heather G says:

    May the colors of your world continue to deepen….

  4. Steven Wolinsky says:

    Yarden, It is good that you have found someone to help you slowly get past the pain. May you continue to put the suffering behind you.

  5. linda dempster says:

    Stella is still looking after you, and she will always be at your side. Your a lucky man!!

  6. Chuck Feinstein says:

    Having lost my wife of 31 years almost six years ago, I had similar reactions. The difference for me was that my children were grown, gone and on their own. I was alone with my late wife’s cat. In time I also found a new besheret, not to replace, but an additional partner and we have been married for three years. A new chapter. In time, may you find the same happiness, peace and support with the right person.

  7. Greg Neilsen says:

    You deserve happiness.

  8. Paul Goldstein says:

    Tomorrow will mark 53 years that my wife and I have been married. I cannot begin to fathom what you and the kids have experienced/are experiencing. But what Chuck Feinstein says above says it so well – not to replace, but an additional partner. Yarden, you and Stella have had so much love and admiration from those of us who know you, and that’s not conditional. It continues, my friend.

  9. Ruth Novice says:

    Baruch Hashem. Keep it up, keep going. Fondly, Ruth