My heart is crying today. Today would have been Chanan Sivan’s 8th birthday, and I’ve been spending most of the day thinking about him. Chanan was Yehuda’s first friend in Israel. We have a cute picture of them sharing their 4th birthday party together, since their birthdays were just two days apart. It was the last one that Chanan would experience.
Last week, Yehuda and I were walking together when we ran into Hadas, Chanan’s sister. I smiled at Hadas as I always do, but I wanted to pass her by quickly. Was she thinking about Chanan? Was it strange for her to see this tall, beautiful boy who looks so much older and to think about what Chanan would have looked like at this age?
How do you mark the passing each year of your child’s birthday, when your child is no longer here? Yehuda’s birthday is two days after Chanan’s and I find myself experiencing his birthday each year in such a bittersweet way. I am, of course, so grateful to have my beautiful son. At the same time, I ache for the Sivans and for everything that might have been for them.
It has been amazing to watch them go on. Not move on, but go on. They have an adorable little girl who is in the class next to Zeli’s and I see her every day. They are amazing people – and an incredible example of the human spirit and of struggling through adversity as a family.
And today, as every year on Caf Daled Shvat (the Hebrew date), I think of them and remember the beautiful little boy with the fly-away hair, the big brown eyes and the ever-present bounce in his step.
You can bet that I’ll be giving Yehuda an extra hug tonight and celebrating his birthday in two days with extra gratitude for the child that I have at my side.