Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Remembering Rachel

I can't even begin to describe the events of such a horrible day.  I can only say that I am incredibly grateful to everyone who has been supportive over the past 2 days.  When we made Aliyah, I think it would be generous to say that we knew 2 dozen people.  There were more than 200 people at the funeral. For those who were not there, here is a copy of the Eulogy I gave. 

Warning: May cause crying.

I was 17, she was 15.  Rachel called me to let me know what I needed to bring for an NCSY program in New York.  The conversation lasted many hours and she didn’t get to the rest of the phone calls that night.  We went on to become friends and a year later we started dating.  Two years later we were engaged and seven months later we were married.  That was fifteen years ago.
 The first time, that we spent a night a part was when Rachel was hospitalized with Channah.  The first time we were completely apart was when she went to her Abba’s funeral last year. Our almost fifteen years of marriage with all its highs and lows were spent together.
If there was a Middah that defined Rachel, it was chessed.  She always put others needs first. She was always on the lookout, for opportunities to help others. Our home was always open for Shabbat guests. No matter how stressful the week was, we were happy to give.
In Israel it is normal for  people to run to find out if travelers have room to bring back stuff.  Rachel ran to see how to make the person’s trip easier. 
Back in Toronto, when we leased our first car, we were both students and had no idea how we would make car payments.  We made a deal with G-d that we would use the car for any Mitzvah sent our way, in exchange for help with the payments.  We never had a problem making a payment.  When we finally bought a car here in Israel, we adopted the same principle.  Rachel would often get off the phone to tell me “By The Way, you are picking up so and so from the airport, do you mind?” A friend recently went through a difficult time, of course we drove them around so they would not need to rely on public transportation.
Before we got married, Rachel wanted Aliyah on the table and I didn’t.  In the end I convinced her to put it on the ’10 year plan’.  As our 10th Anniversary approached,  we decided to come.  It was the best decision we ever made.  We fell into a wonderful community, made Amazing friends and I cannot completely express my thanks to her for pushing me to come.The love of her life was Channah.  She was a miracle baby that had grown up to become a daughter that is constantly making us proud.  Rachel’s face would always glow at the opportunity to share a story about Channah. Here in Israel we were able to offer Channah opportunities that we could never have provided in Toronto.  Rachel was always so proud of what Channah knows and how well she integrated here. 
Channah has many of Rachel’s middot, especially sensitivity to others.  When people tell us how great she is, it often refers to chinuch decisions Rachel initiated.  Last night Channah sat down with a new machberet “Zihcaron Sheli” She then wrote a list of questions that were bothering her.  When Channah and I were not always getting along, Rachel had her write a note and leave it under her pillow.  Rachel could then address the issue and write back to Channah.  That communication skill is going to be with Channah for the rest of her life.  She is going to use it to help get through the pain of not having you around anymore.
We were told that we would not have any other children besides Channah.  When Rachel got pregnant with Gabi, it was such a joy for both of us.  It was a very hard pregnancy.  No matter how hard the pregnancy got she always had a smile on her face.  She understood how precious a life was. When that was taken away from her it shattered her world.  Although the last 2 years have been  a struggle, she was doing  a great job getting back on her feet.  The last two weeks was a major breakthrough. She was happy.  She finally had an opportunity to be herself.  I am incredibly grateful that I had this time with the Rachel who didn’t have to carry the baggage of life’s tragedies with her.

Rachel had so much raw creative talent and she used it. She excelled at whatever she set her heart to.  It could be making Jewelery in her studio, writing, playing piano, scrapbooking or even teaching Channah a new Art’s and Craft project.
For Rachel music paralleled life. In every situation different songs would carry her through. She would surround herself with music to comfort her in the difficult times and to celebrate the good times.
One song has recently been very important to Rachel. I feel like it is her message to us that is left behind. I wanted to share one part of the song, The Wish by The Rascal Flatts:
My wish, for you, is that this life becomes all that you want it to,
Your dreams stay big, and your worries stay small,
You never need to carry more than you can hold,
And while you're out there getting where you're getting to,
I hope you know somebody loves you, and wants the same things too,
Yeah, this, is my wish.
Rachel – You were with me for more than half my life.  No matter how hard life got we were always in it together.  When things were good, we appreciated what we had and took joy in it together.  The last two weeks of spending quality happy time together was a precious gift I will always be grateful for. Often I would be the source of machloket when I didn’t need to be.  I always loved you and tried my best to be a good husband and father.  I hope that you understand that now.  You can now hold, play and look after Gabi.  Please give her a hug from me.

You were an amazing person.  Your memory will forever live as an inspiration for others. 

I love you and miss you so much.


Tanja Owen said...

I did not know your wife nor your family but only thru Peri ,your wife was an amazing person my heart and prays are with you and your daughter. God Bless you both..
Tanja Owen.

Yidchick said...

I am so sorry for your loss Jason. Rachel was a wonderful person and will be dearly missed.

CM2 said...

wow. i'm so sorry jason.

what a wonderful eulogy.

Batya said...

HaMakom yenachem....

Grace said...

Baruch Dayan Emes

I davened for Rachael constantly. When I got married I davened my heart out for her at the mikvah and under the chuppah. Every time I lit candles I davened for her.

May you be comforted.

Chaya Maimon said...

I knew Rachel from blogs and message boards. She is one of the few people I have really wanted to meet. She had so much life to her. SHe loved deeply, and she always had something nice to say. She was very special. I am so sorry for Your Loss Channah and Jason.


Anonymous said...

I did not have the pleasure of knowing you both, but I feel compelled to comment after reading such a beautiful eulogy.
It is obvious that Rachel was dearly loved.
I am so sorry for your loss, and I hope you find comfort.

Anonymous said...

Beautifully said. I am so sorry for your loss.
I never met Rachel but knew her from a message board and read her blog .I really admired her honesty and wisdom. She helped so many through her writings and posts.

Anonymous said...

I too am crying with you. I was friends with Rachel through livejournal and then through her blogs. I cried with her and laughed with her and shared her joys in raising Channah. We loved when Rachel posted pictures of Channah whom she obviously adored. We celebrated with Rachel when she began selling her beautiful handmade jewelry and ornaments. We shared her simcha in making Aliyah and empathized with some of the adjustments i.e. redtape. I never met Rachel, but I considered her a friend. I read her blog constantly and emailed her directly. Sunday night I checked her blog to see if there were any updates. I was praying for Rachel Marmel to heal. Now she is with Gabi in the Olem HaEmes and she is no longer in pain. But I cry with her husband and Channah and the rest of her friends and family that were fortunate enough to know the Real Rachel in Real Life. May Hashem give you the strength to get through this nightmare and help you heal as only He can. Rachel will be missed by so many of us. Hamokom Yenachem Eschem b'soch shaar cholei yisroel.

Pnina said...

Hi Jason,
I only 'knew' Rachel through a forum and her blog. As you can see, I still think of her. And I wonder how you and Channah are doing? Not even sure if you still use this blog, not sure if you are still in Israel, not sure if you would even want to answer my question. I hope you are well, slowly every day coping.