This morning I looked at last year’s Chanukah picture. You sat in a chair smiling, despite ill health, surrounded by our family. There in your hand was a leather pouch filled with Chanukah gelt soon to be given out to our children and grandchildren, and another pouch for tzedakah.

Behind you, the table was set with potatoI found the menorah you used to light latkes, applesauce, cheese blintzes, sour cream—all homemade—and doughnuts fried by and for our Israeli son-in-law. Looking at the picture, I can almost smell the aroma as everyone sat around the dining-room table to celebrate.

Last Chanukah, the children helped you out of your walker and into the chair before taking the picture. Everyone was concerned that it was your last Chanukah with us, but we all smiled widely.

Also this morning, I found the menorah you used to light the Chanukah candles for many years.

While cleaning it, I looked outside the window and saw the trees. Some had yellow and orange leaves, even purple, swaying in the breeze as if they were talking to each other.

I had to cut down some of our trees and trimmed others. They are so tall now—the very trees that have seen everything since we moved in here. They witnessed the bar mitzvah in our back yard when we were so proud, and when our parents were alive to see it and rejoice with us together. They saw the blizzards when I and the children watched out the window to wait for you to come home.

Years later, our son bought a house down the street, and we walked there for Shabbat dinners. I helped take care of his boys, who loved to walk back and forth to see us. I taught them to talk to the trees, just as my mother had taught me.

After I finished polishing the menorah, I drove to the market to buy more Chanukah candles. I walked around the aisles looking at shelves of food I didn’t need since I don’t host family celebrations without you, and I fought back tears.

Once outside, while looking for my car, a man wearing a gray shirt and old pants bent over near me, and said, “Pardon me. I hate to ask, but I am on my way to the Natick train station to board the train to Boston because of a family emergency. I don’t have enough money. Can you spare $5? I’m not sure how much the train costs.”

Rummaging through my pocket book, I found my makeup case, where I keep my emergency money. Knowing how much it costs, I walked over to him and handed him $10.

I remembered you saying, “If someone, even a stranger, has to bend down to ask, you have to walk over to give.”

“Thank you, thank you.” The man was so relieved he was almost in tears. “I hope you have a nice day.” He said after he took the money.

“Don’t worry,” I responded. “Someone will help me someday when I am in need. That’s how it works.”

Once I got home and set up the candles in the menorah, I remembered how much trouble you had lighting the candles last year. Our son wanted to help you, but you insisted on doing it yourself. With each lit candle, a new light shone in your eyes.

If I had to describe you in one sentence,I know today was a good day it would be that you were given shoulders to carry burdens—of yours and others. You always gave time and money to help another, and you did it happily.

Looking up into the cloudless sky, I know today was a good day. As you would say, “Giving to charity is like planting a seed that might help someone else someday.”

You remind me of the verse: “Show righteousness for yourselves, reap according to loving-kindness” (Hosea 10:12).

And perhaps that’s the message of the Chanukah lights. That our job as a people is to bring light, kindness and G‑dliness to our world. To light up the life of another. To be a “light upon the nations.”

Now when I look at last year’s Chanukah picture, I see the light in your eyes and know you are at peace.