Gray light entered through the yellow shade as Becky awoke. Dreary-eyed, she looked at the empty bed beside her: Chaim was gone.

She put on her warm robe, and then passed by the yahrzeit memorial candle still burning in the dining room next to Chaim’s tefillin. The flame gave off such a cold light in the tall red glass. The rabbi had said she could let the candle burn out by itself. Like her.

Time was so unforgiving; Becky was not readyOnce in the kitchen, she turned on the gas to boil water for coffee. Nescafe instant—which she had used only on Shabbat—was fine for every day now. Nothing tasted good these days, not even brewed coffee.

Yesterday, shiva over, the rabbi had said, “It’s time for you to go out.” Time was so unforgiving; Becky was not ready. Especially not ready to see her face in the mirror: her hair grayer, the skin underneath her green eyes darker, face color nonexistent.

Today being Friday, she had to buy food for Shabbat. That’s if she wanted to eat. Becky forced herself to eat a boiled egg and bagel after the funeral. Then everyone else could eat. For the next few days, she’d eaten to keep up her strength for the visitors.

Today, coffee was all she wanted. Then Becky donned her black raincoat with a hood.

Only last year Chaim had said, “Great—a hood, in case of rain.” He put down the paper to admire Becky as she showed off her new raincoat.

Had he started to look pale then?

Pulling the hood over her head, Becky forced herself out the door. Once outside, she was not sure if raindrops or tears were sliding down her cheeks.

No need to get eggless challahs, fresh fish and vegetables, all Chaim could eat after his heart surgery. The rain matched Becky’s mood as she walked up Harvard Street, busy with other shoppers and students, backpacks bulging with their future plans.

Entering the Butcherie, her favorite market, she took off her hood and grabbed a small cart. As soon as she entered the first aisle, someone shoved into her with a large wagon.

“Pardon me,” Becky said, then turned to see Shirley, Chaim’s first wife, surrounded by potatoes, onions and carrots.

Shirley whined, “You can say hello.”

“Hello.” Picking up some celery hearts, Becky smelled them. They reminded her of spring, and fresh air, and her ma’s chicken soup bubbling on the stove before Shabbat.

Since Shirley had not shown up for the funeral, Becky hadn’t minded the twin boys standing together, yet apart from everyone else at the graveside. They stood by as Chaim was lowered into the ground, then escaped without saying a word to Becky.

How she wished they had said some word of kindness, or an acknowledgment that Becky existed. How she wished they acted like Chaim, not just looked like him.

Was it her fault, what happened between Chaim and Shirley? From that, Becky never wanted to know.

It was still painful that she and Chaim had no children. No one to whom she could pass on his precious prayerbook. No one to help her through the mourning process.

How she wished they had said some word of kindness, or an acknowledgment that Becky existed“I didn’t come to the funeral, because I thought it would bother you.” Shirley flung her thick finger, adorned with a huge flashy diamond, into Becky’s face. “I’m happy now, as you can see.”

Happy was not a word Becky could even imagine using now. Looking down at her own tastefully small ring, she never would have worn such a vulgar piece.

Cart filled with knishes and chickens, Shirley said, “I told my boys to go, out of respect for their father.”

“It would also have been respectful if they paid their condolences to me.”

“They never forgave their father for abandoning them.”

Abandoning them! After all the weekends we invited the boys and Shirley had said no. Shirley had no case.

Chaim was heartbroken so many times, Becky suspected it added to his strain.

She bought candles to bring in Shabbat by herself.

Mulling over which kind of frozen dinner she should purchase, Becky heard Shirley gush about her ring to someone else.

When would Becky be happy? She pictured her ma lighting candles, white lace scarf covering her head, small hands circling the warm orange flames reflecting off her round face.

Becky ran around the store, buying chicken, onions and dill, Ma’s secret ingredients to add to the celery hearts for soup. Smelling the aroma while the soup was bubbling will make a sweet Shabbat.

Looking out the large window, the sun inched out through the clouds, as if it forgave them.

She noticed Shirley by the checkout counter. Maybe Becky should forgive Shirley for all her bad behavior. “After all,” the rabbi had said, “not forgiving someone is bad for your heart.”

She stepped over to Shirley and said, “Shabbat Shalom to you and your family.”

Becky left the store with a heart that felt less heavy. Tonight, when lighting the candles, she would thank G‑d for all she had.