Fire engines screaming, I walk out onto my deck look towards the sunlight and listen. The light-blue sky signals a beautiful day. Trees that have survived the blizzard that hit more than a year ago, a long lonely year ago, are bursting with new branches and leaves. Today, the branches sway, seemingly allowing the leaves to speak to one another.

Birds sing from treetop to treetop while my mouth starts toYesterday would have been our 54th wedding anniversary quiver. Tears fill my eyes. Yesterday would have been our 54th wedding anniversary.

Many years we walked to the parade, but today, I cannot walk that far. Today, I am home alone with my memories. Memories of rushing to the parade—first with our children and then grandchildren, when they lived near us; then just the two of us, clapping when we saw the flag and listening to the bands play patriotic tunes.

Today, my memories are of sirens blaring while I drive my husband to the hospital after the doctor said, “Bring him to the emergency room. I’ll let them know you are coming.” Cars and trucks that usually make you wait miraculously let me go ahead as if they knew it was urgent.

The next time my husband had a stroke, I watched the firemen shovel us out before they put him in the ambulance to drive us to the hospital. Another time, sitting beside my husband, who was crying, I reassured him: “You’ll be OK. You’ll get better. You’ll see. I’ll help you.” As if I were the parent reassuring a child while praying that I was right.

The last time, after they put him in the back of an ambulance, I cried: “You are not alone.” Then, after being hoisted into the front seat beside the driver, he reassured me: “The Boston Hospitals do miracles.”

After tests showed my husband was permanently paralyzed, the only miracle they performed was the miracle of kindness.

The rabbi came to visit to say the Shema. He comforted me at the same time.

On my husband’s last day on earth, I was up at 5 o’clock.

The hospital had allowed me to sleep on a pullout sofa since I didn’t want Adam to be alone. The overhead thunderstorm reflected my mood and my life.

Later in the day, while my daughter recited Psalms, David, my son, and I cried as my husband passed away.

After a short while, the rabbi showed up. “Your husband was a truly kind man,” he said. “I will wait with him for the Chevra Kadisha. You can go home.”

When David drove me home, I reassured him: “Don’t worry, I will be OK alone.”

Less than two months later was the bar mitzvah of my grandson, Yoni. David asked, “What should I do about the bar mitzvah?”

“Ask your rabbi, of course, but Yoni should have his bar mitzvah. He worked hard, and you and your family deserve it. Your father would have wanted him to have it.”

It was after that milestone that the loneliness set in. I didn’t have any special occasion to look forward to being with friends and family.

Just seeing a man with a walker, with his wife behind him, as I waited alone in supermarket line or a doctor’s office made me want to cry.

Shabbat was the hardest as I looked at my husband’s picture, light on above him, and wondered, “What is the purpose of life when you are alone—no anchor, no one to talk to, no one to ask about their day?”

I didn’t want to light Shabbat candles or accept invitations to my children’s homes.

Finally,Shabbat was the hardest I went to an Oneg Shabbat, and while listening to the men on the other side of the mechitzah, I could hear my husband singing among them. That was the beginning of going back to lighting Shabbat candles, as I had done from the first Shabbat of our marriage.

I joined a bereavement group at the local senior center and made new friends. I tried joining other activities just to out the door.

Today, I walk to the other side of the deck and see the lilies put in the ground a year ago—pink and yellow flowers ripe enough to pick.

As the fire engines get further away and the sound of silence returns, I think of all the small miracles of kindness that have come my way since that dark day. I think of all the community, friends and strangers who have done mitzvahs for me and my family—even the slightest act of kindness is magnified in my heart and mind.

Today, if I listen closely, I can hear my husband’s dear soul reassure me: “You are not alone.”