Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Yea Though I Walk Through the Valley of the Shadow of Death

I said goodbye to a child today.  Jakob Shapiro was 18, graduating from high school, and accepted to multiple universities with scholarships. 

There is a hole where my heart should be. I am empty, hollow.  Those who know me know I am a weeper.  I cry at Hallmark cards and sappy commercials, but I could not cry today.  Instead I sit, hearing the words spoken by others, the words of our traditions, unmoving, watching Jakob's face, smiling, dancing before my eyes just out of reach. 

Jakob was a student of mine when he was in grade 6.  A bright, eager student, Jakob would enter class singing a song about the class and me that he had composed.  Each class began with the TDT song.  As others joined in, drawn along by his charisma, the singing grew.  Even after I saw Jakob regularly in the community.  His boyish face thinning out as he grew and changed into a fine young man.  But that smile, his wonderful boyish smile that infected everyone, the smile that made teaching just that much better and that much brighter, that smile never changed.

My heart is with Jakob.  It is with Claire & Kenny, his parents, and with Noah, his brother.  It is with their family and their friends, the people who filled the sanctuary as we said goodbye. 

Today I will put your loss behind me, and in place of my heart I'll put your smile.

Baruch dayan emet.


  1. Awww
    I feel your pain!
    I knew Jakob for a few weeks,
    We were talking on Facebook, he said he had to go, and next thing I see is his facebook wall filled with R.I.P messages. It would give me some closure to find out how he died, what happened to him a few hours after our facebook conversation.
    Please, if you know how he died, could you respond to this comment?
    Thank you so much!

  2. How he died isn't as important as how he lived.
    Just be thankful that you got to embrace his presence during his short time on Earth.

  3. How he died certainly isn't the important piece. It is the impact he had while here. Jakob was a shining star. As Purim approaches my daughter is rehearsing a song Jakob sang in its original Purim show. I see him in my head. I hear him singing, and it leaves me with a smile. Jakob's legacy is the important part. He lived with a smile and a caring heart, and that fills me still.