When the Expected turned into a Traumatic Termination by Leah Kotkes

A few weeks back, I received a review copy of Binah editor Leah Kotkes’ newly-released autobiography The Map Seeker: One Woman’s Quest. I LOVED IT! Read one of the book’s most powerful sections below.

It is Time to Count My Blessings: How I Coped when the Expected turned into a Traumatic Termination

(An excerpt from a longer essay in The Map Seeker: One Woman’s Quest by Leah Kotkes (Israel Bookshop Publications)

As I lie in the hospital bed I will myself to calm down, to take deep breaths, to realize G-d knew what He was doing, that there has to be a good reason for everything that had happened to me until this moment.

I think about the word “acceptance”; it is easy to write. It is easy to say. The challenge is to live it, to understand its true meaning, to believe it and know that to accept will bring one closer to peace of mind and greater love of self, life and G-d.

One of the women in labor (sharing my hospital room due to overflow from another department) is now pacing the room. I know that feeling of impending birth. I have held a newborn close to my heart and wept with joy, thank G-d. My husband and I have been blessed four times, may G-d protect them all, even though we have now lost three times. A loss is just a memory when you are able to look at the gifts in your life.

The nightlight illuminates the color photograph of our boys.

They are smiling at me. I love each of them dearly, with all my heart. Today is March 7, 2007. It is now 1:10 P.M. It is a time in my life to count blessings, to wake up to the reality of my life.

I am living in the Land of Israel, in Jerusalem.

I am married.

I am a mother.

I am living an ideal and trying to do my best, day by day.

The past cannot be wiped away or changed.

The future is in the Hands of G-d and my free will — the choices I make that He offers me.

Only the present moment exists and it belongs to me, not a seventeen-year-old but a forty-three-year-old woman who learned
today that acceptance is the key to the next passageway in life. If I
accept my situation today I will heal, be able to take the next step,
continue my role and purpose in this world, and along the way perhaps help another woman who is experiencing what I have just experienced.

I could help because I have stood in her shoes more than once in
my life and it is a lonely place when you don’t have someone to help
you, someone to stand by you before and after the loss, someone
to make meals for you because you are too tired or not motivated,
someone to phone you to see how you are doing, someone to listen
to the words in your heart and in your mind, someone who doesn’t
disregard your loss because you have more children, but someone
who respects your loss because it is a loss.

The night before I was admitted to the hospital to have an operation
to take out my sick baby in utero — a professional decision that was made after consultation with a committee of doctors and approved by my Rabbi— I received a gift via car service from a person who knew about my situation. The present was beautifully gift-wrapped and came with a card. There were only a few words in the card but they caused me to release a loud sob and cry to the Master of the Universe from a place within myself that I have never felt before. The words were “Always with you;” a double message, hence my response. She was telling me something that I know has to be
and I want to be the foundation of my service of G-d— faith in
G-d — that the Master of the Universe is always with me no matter
what or when.

I feel that this gesture of kindness from this woman of great faith is the most precious gift I have ever received — and I thank her for taking the time to think of me and reaching out to me in my time of need. I was comforted by her words — they helped me to continue with steadfast faith in the choices G-d makes for me and to believe that within each Jew lies the potential for greatness, for kindness that is far greater than man himself.

Excerpted from Leah Kotkes’s newly-released memoir The Map Seeker: One Woman’s Quest. Read about The Map Seeker at http://leahkotkes.com/the-map-seeker/

To order The Map Seeker click here

About the Author
Leah Kotkes is the director of The Writers’ Journey Seminars and
Editor of The Annual Writers’ Journal. She is Features Editor and Features Writer for Binah Magazine. She hosts The Writers’ Club, a bi-monthly meeting in Jerusalem for new and experienced writers. She also mentors writers in person and online.

Leah can be contacted at leahkotkes@gmail.com. She is available to
make referrals to Jewish woman writing mentors, writing teachers,
and book publishers.

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