When my father died, I thought I was covered for life.
I'd paid my dues. One hardship per person, doesn't it work like that?
"You'll see that from now on life will go smoothly for you", said one illustrious Rebbetzin.
"God is the father of Yesomim." The other rabbis said. "You'll have special Siyata Dishmaya in all you do."
When my years of dating don't bring me where I want them to, I can't figure it out. Making aliyah, tick. Losing father, tick. Older single stuck in the "shidduch crises", surely that can't be meant for me too?
I resign myself to my not-yet-perfect life. I just need to get married. One more trial to get through, and I'm home free. Then life will be perfect. Happily ever after. Sure, I'll have to deal with Parnassah, and Shalom Bayis, and Chinuch Banim. But that's OK. That's life. I can't wait.
Around me, my friends and peers marry. Ecstatic weddings followed by marital bliss. They settle down as newlyweds, in the cheaper suburbs of Jerusalem, in Kiryat Sefer and the South. Wedding invitations become scarce. Instead arrive the text messages announcing the birth of kids, the Brits and the Kiddushes.I visit 2 bedroom apartments, and admire their new decor. I buy baby presents, and play hide and seek with their toddlers.
I stand watching from the side. Sometimes I'm jealous, that's the ugly truth. I don't want to admit it, even to myself. I'm glad they are happy. I wait eagerly to be happy too, like them.
Life is taking over. We are growing up.
I call my friend, I know she's due to give birth, any day now. I'm surprised I haven't heard from her in a while.
Her husband answers. She can't talk now, he says. He sounds awful. "How is she?" I ask. "Is everything OK?"
And then he tells me. He tells me about the ultrasound results they got a few months back. He tells me about the physical state the baby is in now, and the emotional state she is in.
Pieces fall together. The way she cut herself off, this year, from the rest of us. The fear she must have been living through, the grief. And I thought she was self absorbed, I thought she was drifting in a hazy and blissful cloud of contentment. I hang up the phone and cry.
I finally open my eyes, and take a look around me, around my world. One friend lost a child, another's husband was injured, another is struggling with infertility. And the others, those whose lives don't run to headlines, I begin to realize they must have their struggles too.
Life is what lies beyond the diamond ring, beyond the Chuppah. Real life. Not a fairytale.
1 week ago