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On the Yartzeit of a Child

On the Yartzeit of a Child

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Question:

Almost a year ago, I lost my child. I watch the world moving along while I am left behind in the memory of her and of what could have been.

Now the first yartzeit is coming up. What is that supposed to mean to me? Where do I take things from here?

Response:

A first yahrtzeit is two things:

It is a time when the soul of the deceased soars to a yet higher place above—and she can do that best with the help of those she has left behind in this world. And it is a time of closure, when the period of mourning must stop, when life in this world must go on.

It must go on, because just as a river must constantly run downstream to escape stagnation, so a human being must ever grow. To stand still is to allow the events of this world to dictate how you must feel, when you may celebrate and when you must continue to mourn—until life itself is fettered to turn the perpetual millstone of mourning, the future ever overtaken by the past.

To grow is to say, "I've made that journey already. I have been there with all my heart, body and soul. Now let me continue downstream and discover what wonders life yet holds."

After all, why do we mourn death, if not that life is so precious? And you are a young woman with so much life to give, to nurture, to celebrate and to receive nachas. This life as _____ ______ happens only once. Don't lose that opportunity to be _____ ______.

Life is for eternity, this world for but a fleeting moment. Yet for this moment now all was created.

Wishing you much joy in your life and much nachas from all your children,

All names of persons and locations or other identifying features referenced in these questions have been omitted or changed to preserve the anonymity of the questioners.
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Helen Furman Johannesburg October 29, 2016

Death of a child How can there ever be closure after the loss of a child! Let's get real here. When you lose a child, a part of you dies. It's as if someone ripped out your heart and left you bleeding - forever. Your world is forever upside down and inside out. Reply

Me Florida August 24, 2016

Ina Moore. Thanks for posting. I feel pain because your girl needed what she needed and now many are sad because of this and she was young. Please know what you know, you are not alone. It is very sad that so many parents joke about weed. Weed is not funny. My son could have gone to college but probably never will. Very sad that drugs are so important to him. I am a sincere person and never want to see children or adult children hurt. Please post where we can help and do more than feel bad and talk to deaf ears. Reply

Helen Fox Herts England July 28, 2015

Next week will be 43 years since the passing of my daughter aged 11 Tracey (Tova) and I have yahrtzeit 25 Av.
Things do not get easy but the hurt dulls, I always said if she had been ill I could have had time with her, Tracey was run over and killed on crossing the road.
I wish all who have lost a child Long Life, my story I remember Tova is on the chabad web site. Reply

ina moore Atlanta georgia June 30, 2015

It has been four years on july second that I lost my Shana to the world of drugs. What a waste of life the youngest of my children so beautiful in and out. I am moving on the best I can for the sake of my other children and a very special grandchild.
My husband passed away four years ago due to years of drinking so the gene was like wildfire in my family. Oh how hard the nights are when I go back and forth did I nor could I have done more. I have been speaking to groups putting drug dealers in jail reported the doctor For giving drugs out like candy. I am not done with this journey. No parent should stand over the grave of their child. Reply

Rabbi Yoinosson Golomb Sheffield, UK October 31, 2010

May I add something that the Rebbe wrote to a woman who lost her husband.
The love between two people is a connection of the spirit which transcends the physical. Love does not see wrinkles rather the personality that is within. However the body is the medium through which the soul expresses herself and communicates with others. So when death occurs it can only affect the physical body rendering it unfit for the soul's habitation. The soul itself, however, remains unharmed and continues to feel the same love it always had for her near and dear ones. So just as in lifetime if one person felt sad the other is affected as well, so too the same feelings continue after death. Only the soul no longer has the ability to communicate her feelings. So the sooner the bereaved family can learn to live life again the happier the departed soul will be as she can sense the joy and rejuvenation and feels better because of it. The Rebbe also approved of celebrating a deceased child's birthday. Reply

Esther Tauby Richmond , BC/Canada October 29, 2010

First Yartzeit I was sorry to hear that you just observed the first yortzait of your dear child. A year is a very short time when it comes to a terrible loss such as the one you have experienced. I would like to suggest that you have someone you can speak to on a regular basis, a Rabbi or Rebbetzin, a counsellor or close friend. There is also a wonderful non-denominational support group for bereaved parents called the Compassionate Friends that has chapters all over North America. There is a Jewish publication called Our Tapestry which was started by two Jewish bereaved mothers who met a the hospital where their children died. I know that support can help you get through the tough times as I too am a bereaved mother. I hope you find comfort in knowing others care. Reply

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