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Ask Shifra

Something Different... Answering questions and making curious observations (online) since 2005.

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Saturday, September 22, 2007


Thank you all so much for your good wishes and comments and emails and especially to those of you who have kept him in your thoughts and prayers all this time.
It's been rough.
Losing my only brother was something I always knew could happen.
Since his near miss a year and a half ago we knew his life expectancy would be shorter than it might have been... and yet it all happened so quickly and just caught us all completely off guard we didn't have time to pray or prepare.

Just over a month ago he was dancing and making people laugh at my daughters bat-mitzva and then last week that same daughter and I were crying at his funeral.
He died young, but in spite of his problems he really lived. There were hundreds of people at his funeral of all types, ages, and affiliations. I couldn't look up at all the crying faces I was so lost in my own grief but it was to his credit that all those people were there.

The eulogies were given in a chapel at the cemetery I was in the front row near the casket squeezed between my mother and my daughter. As people spoke I wanted to reach up and touch the wood, to talk to my little brother and tell him it would be all right. I wanted to tell him that I'd look after mom and dad and that he should just look out for his wife and kids.
I wanted to open it up and hold his hand. But I didn't. Of course I didn't.

It was long long long walk from the chapel to the grave. Since we have no other family in the city where my parents live, they wanted to bury him near a wonderful man who was like a grandfather to us, my brothers mohel.

So we walked and walked... My husband carried the casket with other family members in front and my daughter and I walked with my parents far behind. I could barely move my feet. I just tried to keep breathing- like I had in my house when I heard the news, and on the plane, and in the airport, and in the car... Just one deep breath after another. I felt like there wasn't enough air in the whole world for me to breathe.

I couldn't look forward at the casket, and I couldn't look back at the crowd of people behind me. I couldn't look at my father to my right so I looked to my left out into the cemetery.

After a while we passed a huge headstone with the name NOODLEMAN inscribed on it enormous letters.
For some reason even in the depths of despair in made me start to smile, almost laugh.
I know, it's just a name, and of someone who has passed away no less ... but it still struck me so funny. I tried to look down and just move past it when my daughter leaned over and whispered in my ear "Noodleman" with just the smallest smile on her tear streaked face. "I KNOW!" I whispered back... and we kept on walking.

So... thank you Noodleman where ever you are. You were right where we needed you.
I'll be back with more.
Blogging seems to be just what I need right now.


At 12:38 AM, Blogger queeniesmom said...

Baruch Dayan Emet. May you be comforted in your memories of your brother. He was obviously a wonderful person with many terrific qualities, may these memories help you in the coming days.

At 1:53 AM, Blogger Holy Hyrax said...


For a moment, I thought that name had something to do with the mohel, if you know what I mean :P

At 10:33 AM, Blogger PsychoToddler said...

Noodleman has too much sodium. Is there any broth in there at all? I think it's just yellow colored salt.

We're all here if you need us.

At 5:16 PM, Blogger Jack Steiner said...

It is nice to take comfort where we can. I am sorry for your loss.

At 8:12 PM, Blogger Elie said...


Seeing you on Thursday night, hearing you talk about him, reading what you write here... I know that you'll be all right. Don't be afraid to let it take time. Hopefully, knowing that so many care will help as well.

May you be comforted among all who mourn.

At 11:22 PM, Blogger Eliyahu said...

as you said, your brother really lived when he was alive...somehow, i feel he would really appreciate your smiles at Noodleman. may you and your family and his family and parents be comforted as you mourn.

At 2:25 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

From the little I know of you from this blog, that sounds perfectly fitting. Nechama comes in strange forms...!

We're always here to listen if you need.

At 3:38 PM, Blogger frumhouse said...

Baruch dayan emes..

It's funny, but you will probably remember that "Noodleman" moment forever. Maybe it was Hashem's way of giving you a little lift at a sad moment..

At 5:23 PM, Blogger Tzipporah said...

Now I know what to have on my headstone! Thanks goodness!

I'm glad you found a moment of being yourself in such a difficult time.

At 7:53 PM, Blogger Elie said...

Shifra: Your story reminded me of something I haven't thought of in a while.

It happened during those horrible couple of days when Aaron was unconscious and between life and death, the period I have ruefully called "shiva warmup". The house was full of parents, relatives, friends coming and going and giving comfort as best they could. It was evening and the phone had been ringing non-stop all day with people calling to find out "the latest". It rang once more and I answered it in front of a roomfull of people. The person on the other end said: "This is just a friendly reminder that your Palmer video is three days overdue!"

I just burst out laughing, and when I told everyone what the call was about, the whole room exploded with it. It was one of those things where you had to be there, I guess. But with your "Noodleman" experience, you can understand, I think.

At 1:34 AM, Blogger That Frum Guy said...

I happened upon this over the past week and thought of you. I hope there have been other things along the way that have given you nechama.

At 1:10 AM, Blogger #murduac said...

Love to you and yours, Shifra.


At 9:04 AM, Blogger Jacob Da Jew said...


Noodleman is whole wheat, not too bad for the system.

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