It’s not what’s important, it’s not what’s important, it’s not what’s important.

If I say it enough, maybe it will be true. Maybe my heart will believe. After all, they are only knickknacks. And a huge amount of money. But, as a good friend reminds me, that’s not what’s important. What are important are my children: healthy, happy. One just got over the swine flu. One turned eighteen. They accomplish, they smile. They reach milestones I could not imagine.

The knickknacks are not important.

They are memories But the knickknacks, they are the memories. They are all that is left. They are the set of Russian dolls my mom collected all of her life, and played with when no one was watching. Even when she was old. Even when she was sick. They are an assembly of ballerina figurines sculpted in plaster, trimmed in gold—Limited Edition items she wanted my girls to have. Posters of Baryshnikov and James Dean; a library she was so protective of she refused to lend books so that I, who shared similar literary tastes, had to buy the same exact volumes. We would laugh over that. Look, we both have Gordimier and Hoffman. But I didn’t like Christie.

They are the antiquidated record player one turns by hand. The music is horrible, but I see the glint in my mother's eye as she spies it in the back of a second-hand store, holds on to it because it is too heavy to lift, and yells in French as she waits for my dad to arrive, lest any one else makes a grab for it. The sound of her voice, her thick accent that got thicker when she was in trouble or trying to get out of it, is quickly fading. And all I could have left is the gramophone, the art work, the silk scarves.

There are numerous knickknacks from the woman who loved anything ancient or old, specifically French. When I can no longer recall the touch of her hand, the feel of her kiss, there should be knickknacks.

No, my friend reprimands. They are not important. What’s important is my family. Having my kids in Jewish schools. That my father still remembers my name. Health, that is important.

G‑d gives you what you need But my mother’s wishes. Aren’t they important? "Life isn’t always fair," my friend says, simply, without airs. "But if you look around, G‑d gives you what you need."

I need my children. My husband. But a little voice inside me manages to yell, "Shouldn’t it also be fair?"

My parents wrote a will, one year before my mother passed. Before they suspected death was waiting, getting in slowly, through the cracks in the window, under the door. My mother had insisted that should my father’s Alzheimer's become worse, they should at least have the will already done.

Did she comprehend somehow that, within weeks of her too early demise, loyalties would vanish, relationships true and steady and taken for granted would disintegrate. Lies would replace truths. While we believed she was simply playing out what would become the end of her life, did she grasp, and try to salvage, the expiration of her most prized possessions?

Her daughters. It was unimaginable insight, this will, because she was already sickly and weak. It left everything to my father and, on his passing, everything was to be divided equally between both of her children. The knickknacks, the apartment, the savings.

But it did not take into account, could never have anticipated, in my mother's innocent belief in family, that a relative would use my father’s illness to change the final declaration. It was all done on the Rosh Hashanah immediately after her death, lest I hear, lest I get wind of it. The lawyers settled the revision on the Yom Tov itself, when I have somewhere else to be. The selling of the knickknacks. The taking over, legally, of the apartment—on Rosh Hashanah, when I have a standing appointment with Him.

It is a kappara, a substitute "It is kappara, a substitute," my Rebbetzin states. "It was all completed on the Day of Judgment. It is instead of anything bad being written, being sealed." This gives me comfort. What could it have been, that needed this much in order to be replaced? Something so big, this is preferable?

"They are just things, it is just money," my friend says, yet again. I need to remember this. I need to understand that I am not in command. And maybe this is the lesson that is hardest to accept, that is most important to learn. Everything that happens is part of a greater plan, His design. The things I am, or am not, meant to have, are not in any person's control, or ability to steal. I am, as all the players, only carrying out Divine design. It is difficult, so against a nature that believes things can be determined, outcomes maneuvered and planned.

But I am learning. I am accepting. Letting go of the wheel and having faith in a much more experienced driver.