Mom’s Funeral and My Broken Necklace

Mom’s Funeral and My Broken Necklace

Before mom died, I had been feeling for a few weeks like the world was random. That everything’s up for grabs.
But after mom died, it was suddenly eminently clear to me that Hashem runs the world. So many otherwise inexplicable things were taking place, how could it be otherwise?
For example, at mom’s funeral, at the exact moment the woman from the Chevra Kadisha tore kriya with me, my necklace with the silver tree of life pendant, which I’d been wearing for years, suddenly snapped and fell to the ground.
I told the woman who’d torn kriya with me and another woman from the Chevra Kadisha standing by me, “Look, my necklace fell off…”
The other woman assured me, “Don’t worry, you’ll be able to fix it.”
“No, I mean, look, it’s got a tree of life on it. Mom died and my tree of life fell off!”
Was this Hashem saying “I’m here!”? Or mom showing me that she’d shed her body, but she was still here, just as a person continues to exist despite the fact that she’s removed her coat and hung it in the closet?
But today, 2 weeks later, I had a different thought: maybe the moment the woman from the Chevra Kadisha tore my shirt and sweater, that inadvertently broke my necklace? For sure, that woman (a rebbetzin, no less) or the other woman there would have noticed and apologized if that had been the case.
But that sliver of a doubt had succeeded in boring its way into my heart: Maybe it was just random? Maybe everything’s random? Maybe Hashem had nothing to do with it? Or with anything at all?
I once heard that life is like walking through a pitch-black field, and occasional flashes of lightning are the only light enabling us to continue putting one foot in front of the other without stumbling in the darkness.
And isn’t it strange? How often a time of greatest darkness can provide the greatest lightning flash of all?

6 comments

  1. Baruch Dayan HaEmet.
    I’m so sorry for your loss Chana Jenny. Thank you for sharing stories with us of your dear mother o”h who was so devoted to her family and patients. Thank you for sharing the messages that you experienced and the comfort it brings you, and the deep lessons we can learn from them.
    May you continue to inspire us עד 120.

  2. Mina Esther Gordon

    It makes no difference if the necklace broke and fell due to natural means or because of some supernatural force. Everything ultimately happens because Hashem makes it happen, whether or not it seems to be a natural event. Chana, you consistently choose to see Hashem’s Holy Hand in your everyday life, and you often ‘read’to us the tiny clues and ‘love notes’ that Hashem Yisborach has hidden for you to find as you go through your day.
    I really love the way you ended off your essay. May the lightening continue to reveal G-dliness in the world.

  3. When leaves fall i am reminded of hashgacha pratis and the story of the bal shem tov that even a leaf falling is exactly how Hashem wants it to happen and it has a purpose. (In the story, it was to protect a bug who was suffering from the sun burning down on it and the leaf fell to cover and protect it). Often Hashem shows us that the hard things in life are not random. People see there were signs something big was imminent. Like your mother who stopped driving. Like your mother having a dream before her parents died. To me that shows the big hard thing was not random but very much intended. Still terribly hard and painful obviously.

  4. I think it was completely, 100% Hashgacha pratis. there is no question in my mind. Thankyou Chana Jenny for sharing.

  5. Your essays in your moms passing are so heartfelt. Thank you for sharing your emotions with us.

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