The dam finally burst! For a while, there was an ongoing existential shift, beginning with the tightening in my chest as the days wore on, and the news reports grew more and more grim.

But today was different. Today, I got a text from my daughter that the father of her very close friend had just passed away. From corona. He had the symptoms for just a day.

He wasn’t aHe wasn’t a number. He was a real human being who died number. This wasn’t just an inconvenience or a scare. He was a real human being who died.

It’s hitting home. The long lists of prayers. People I know who are ill, some very critical. Friends are sending texts, urging, begging people to pray for their fathers, their sisters, their loved ones.

When this craziness originally hit, it felt surreal. Like we walked into a doomsday sci-fi scenario, except it wasn’t ending. As a society, we tried to meet this “new normal”—that was anything but normal—with a degree of equanimity. Even with humor. There were great memes poking fun at our ideals as a society that made us re-examine our closest relationships and priorities, and that taught us to really appreciate our children’s teachers and the simple things in life, like going for lunch with a friend. There were great inspirational messages floating around about how we were going to get through this as a better people. I, too, looked for inspiration, to find the silver lining of good and of gratitude.

Sure, there was so much uncertainty. I tried to bury the pessimistic voice inside of me, whispering that “this could take many months,” or that was demanding, “what about shortages?” and, “will the economy survive?” Were we going to run out of food, necessities, hospital beds, money? I heard those voices and felt my chest tightening even as I couldn’t stop myself from reading the latest news reports. Nevertheless, through it all, I continued to stay in my bubble, insisting this was for a reason—that it will teach us to become a better society.

Then came Passover season. The highlight of our year has always been Passover, when our whole family gets together. I cook and bake for weeks in advance so the grandkids can enjoy the time together as they nibble their favorite pesachdike treats, trailing crumbs all across my freshly cleaned home. But then, boom, everything changed, and for the first time in 10 years, my oldest daughter and her family won’t be coming. Yesterday, I helped her compose a list of basic necessities to set up her own Passover kitchen, with all her kids at home, as she scrambles to prepare the essentials for the holiday while trying not to venture out.

The new situation is sad, so very sad. But somehow, through it all, I keep insisting to myself that we’re going to do it for G‑d. G‑d needs us now, I told myself. We’re going to come through this challenge. G‑d is counting on us, and we’re going to show Him the stuff we’re made of. There are great heroes emerging from this: the tireless medical staff, teachers attempting their classes online, the people who offer to shop for others, the overwhelming kindness all around us—we’re going to prove to ourselves and our world, the greatness of the human spirit, the beauty of communities holding strong.

And while that is all true, today, as I heard the news that hit too close to home, something shifted. While maybe G‑d still needs us, I just realized how much I need G‑d.

G‑d, I’m scared. G‑d, I need You. G‑d, You are the only steadfast in our lives. G‑d, please see how much we are trying.

Eventually, I will get around to preparing a beautiful Passover. No, it won’t be lavish meals, the discussions won’t be as lively, and the atmosphere won’t be as joyous without my sweet, little grandchildren.

But I am going to give Passover my “all” this year, whatever my “all” is, during these crazy times. I will do my best because our world needs spiritual light during a time of such darkness. I will exert myself because we need to really experience liberation. I will try because G‑d is counting on me—on all of us—to open these spiritual channels of blessings, faith, strength, liberty and healing.

ButG‑d, I'm scared. G‑d, I need you. moreover, I will make it the best Passover I can because in this darkness, fear and helplessness, I realize more than ever that as everything I ever knew and was familiar to me changes, and as more and more darkness spreads around me, the only thing that has not changed in our world and never will is that G‑d, I need You in my life. I so desperately need a relationship with You. Even in this darkness, I will do whatever it takes to have that relationship, which I hope and I know will soon be revealed in much more of an openly happy and loving bond.

Wishing you all health and safety, and a happy and kosher Passover!