It hits us without any warning. Karen and I are sitting on the couch in our bedroom watching a DVD together. We are enjoying ourselves. The house is alive with the more sounds than is usual. Karen’s parents are visiting from Brooklyn and are staying in one of the downstairs bedrooms Offspring #3 is on her cell phone planning the evening with her friends. She sounds like she’s plannng the invasion of Normandy. How complicated is it to gather a few friends and go to the movies?
So, one minute we are fine, relaxed, and then something happens. We look at each other and one of us says: “Where is Ariel?” There is a long silence. We do not ask the question expecting a coherent answer. No, we ask because our son has died and we live in a constant state of confusion, and we feel obliged to voice this puzzlement. How is it possible to be separated from someone you were once so close to? We used to be aware of every single breath that Ariel took. We heard his every footstep as he moved from his bedroom to the kitchen. I can still hear the sing-song of his voice as he learned Talmud.
Where is Ariel?
My vision is childish. I see him in a Beis Midrash, a House of Study, sitting over a Talmud, swaying back and forth, mind racing. As he learns he also has the ability to see us; to look down on his mother and father and siblings, and in his own way, make contact with us.
I realize how childish this is. It’s one step away from seeng my son with wings, white and glowing. But I am, after all, only a man of clay and my imagination is severely limited.
And so, one minute Karen and I are fine and then abruptly it hits us like a hammerblow and we are quite simply crushed; we are left sobbing, holding one another as if we are the last people left on earth.