Holidays Without Mom

Posted on November 4th, 2016

“Happy Holidays”

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I don’t remember much from before my mother’s diagnosis. I remember going to school and playing with friends. I remember coming home to find some after-school snack my mom had prepared for us (yes, everyday). I remember going upstairs to tell my dad about whatever happened at school (when he worked from home). I remember little things. I don’t really remember anything special about how we celebrated the holidays, but I’m sure we were just like everyone else. You know, a “normal family”.

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My mom’s diagnosis was like a slap in the face. I all of a sudden realized what was really important in life. Family. Everyday was a gift and the holidays became an extra-emotional time for us. Every holiday that my mother got to celebrate with us was a huge milestone.

The holidays became a time that I dreaded. It felt like we were all just faking it and pretending to be a “normal family”. It all just reminded me of how we weren’t one and probably never will be. The whole “faking it” thing continued even after my mother passed and after my father remarried. The first year was just uncomfortable and a little awkward for everyone…

Now we’re 3 years later and this year’s holidays have been somewhat, different. They were nice… kind of fun even. Everybody helped with the cooking and cleaning, everybody sat around the table for the holiday meal (which is VERY rare). Everyone smiled. Real, happy smiles. We ate, we talked, we laughed. We sang holiday songs on the top of our lungs and it was amazing.

img-20161014-wa0009We’re never gonna be a “normal family” but I’m okay with that. Our family isn’t complete, but we’re not broken. We’re different from most families and we don’t look it, but we work together. The holidays were proof of that. I’m happy to say I now love the holidays, and I love my complicated family.

I hope your holidays were as meaningful as mine.

Happy Holidays,

Rivka Frankl.

Neve Daniel/Golan Heights.


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  1. Genendy Radoff says:

    Rivka, you are amazing!! When I read your posts I want to laugh and cry. The world will never feel complete to me either without your mom here, so I can’t even imagine how it is for you. Yet, with incredible courage and strength you have carried on. Hashem give you strength, and keep writing!

  2. Beautiful, Rivka. Tough, but beautiful. Each member of your old/new “complicated family” deserves credit for making you as normal as everyone else. Or maybe just a little lower than angels…

  3. Linda Dempster says:

    You are an amazing young lady, mom & dad are so proud of you. Great writing and I am so glad you shared it. Thank you.

  4. Avigail Gimpel says:

    My Dear Rivka,
    You are such an amazing girl! You express yourself with so much grace and depth. It was truly a joy for us to have the opportunity to celebrate part of this Chag with the incomplete, yet truly awesome Asraf/Frankl. You are a real inspiration along with the rest of your gang. Keep writing!! I love you

  5. Bill Landau says:

    Another beautiful post, Rivka. Please keep writing.

  6. Linda Pardes Friedburg says:

    Rivka, you gorgeous, gifted young lady with so much love to give – your clear expression, honesty and insight make you a pleasure to read. What comes from the heart enters the heart, and I think this post touched many people! You should be blessed with the wisdom, love and sense of humor:) to create many more excellent shabbatot and chagim together with your amazing family!