Sunday, July 20, 2014

Dear Little Girl

Usually in this blog I do not express personal opinions off my topic of libraries and information.  Today I must share an emotional event.  I was teary-eyed when I wrote the first draft.

A few weeks ago the daughter, son-in-law and their month old baby went to visit his father in Los Angeles. I have known the daughter and her family since I moved to this block.  She was a toddler when I moved here. I was at their wedding in May 2013.  Two weeks ago the young husband dropped dead of an undiagnosed health problem.  I asked what I could do and was asked to write about her husband.  I agreed even though I really barely know him.  I only met him a few times.  On those times I was very impressed with his kindness, friendliness, wisdom, and excitement to make a wonderful life for his family.  They were indeed a wonderful couple; lucky to find each other.

Below is the letter I wrote for their infant daughter with all the personal details removed.

July 20, 2014

Dear C,

No one is supposed to write a letter like this.  A child is supposed to grow up with the love and guidance of two parents and lots of friends and relatives.  A child is supposed to see their parents grow old.  At the end one is supposed to mourn the passing of parents who have led a long and meaningful life full of Torah, mitzvot and family.

I only knew your father for a very short time.  I met him briefly at the engagement party and at your parents’ wedding. The wedding was so happy with everyone dancing and celebrating.
This past Pesah your parents came to Chicago in anticipation of your birth. Your father was very self-assured and your parents looked so much in love and ready to start a family.  I offered to let them stay at my home.  Your father’s father also came for the first days of yom tov.  In anticipation, your father rearranged the guest room in my home. However they never took me up on the offer. 

In the time between Pesah and June I visited your grandparents and had the opportunity to speak with your father.  The topics were general friendly conversation.  It was at the Shabbat or yom tov table and everyone was participating in the conversation.  Your father was a true ben-Torah and mitzvot.  He took his knowledge and freely shared it with others.  He was a true man of the world and was not stuck in words; he was living Torah as a man of this world.  He knew so much and I wish that some of that great knowledge will someday be part of you.  

After you were born I could see the love of family in his eyes.  Whenever he talked of you he did not have to use words, I could see that he wanted great things for you and your family.  His love of family extended to your grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins.  Even to me, a friend and neighbor of your grandparents he exhibited a friendship as if I had known him all his life.
When you begin to walk and talk I hope that we will see your father in every step and in every word.  May you be blessed with great knowledge and wisdom. May his eyes always shine through yours and someday you will accomplish all the dreams that he had for you. 

Be strong and stand on the shoulders of giants.

No comments: