It is the 27th anniversary of the death of my beloved father. He died on the first night of Chanukah, November 29, 1994. Twenty-five years later, my mother died on the last night of Chanukah, December 29, 2019.
Their deaths are unique bookends for the holiday of Chanukah–a holiday of light and miracles.
We had a lot of books in my childhood home. Lots of books meant lots of bookends. I remember brass ducks, onyx horse heads, copper boats and many other things. Our precious books holding so much wisdom were held upright by these stunning works of metal and stone art. I now think of my parents as bookends. There was much life wisdom between them. People remarked that when either one of my parents entered a space that they would light up the room. They lit up people’s lives with their optimism and hope. They did many kind acts for others.
Chanukah is a festival of light, miracles, and hope. Light is often perceived as a positive symbol of goodness, hope, beauty, knowledge, and truth. I feel both happy and sad; uplifted by the light that shone when they were walking this earth and sad that they are not here to share the light that continues to emerge and be expressed in their friends, children and grandchildren. I am hopeful that some of their light is within those who knew them and that we will honor them in the way we live our lives every day.
This is also a tough time for two very close friends. One friend’s father died and my other friend’s brother is critically ill. As I write these words one is praying for the soul of his father to be blessed with eternal life and the other is praying for her brother to be spared so he can continue life on earth.
My friend’s brother is in a very precarious situation. His wife (my friend’s sister-in-law) responded to people’s requests of how they can help her. While her husband was in surgery, she communicated their situation through Facebook. She shared the acts of kindness her husband does for others. Then she asked anyone who was reading the posts to perform an act of kindness for someone else and write back to her what they were. Her intention is to read these many acts of kindness to her husband even though he is sedated and on life support.
My friend’s sister-in-law is experiencing her darkest hour. And what does she do? She asks people to honor him by doing kind acts for others. She wants to keep his spirit of kindness “working” while the doctors are “working” to keep him alive.
This request touched me deeply. That someone who is waiting to hear whether her husband will live or die, requests that others do kind acts as a way to help is remarkable. This festival of light is also referred to as a time of miracles. Each of us has the ability and responsibility to help another person in some way. The true function of light is to illuminate. Imagine the many ways one can help to bring light into another person’s life. We never know if our kind act may be, for them, a small miracle.