Good Morning. My name is Sasha Abrams and I’m glad to be here to share my PTS story.
I have two sons, 4 and 2, and one of their favorite books is this one called It Feels Good to Be Let In. It’s about a preschooler who feels happy, and glad, and special in her heart when she’s let in. For her, being “let in” is about being included during playtime.
I love this book because I, too, feel happy in my heart when I’m let in and today, I wanted to share my experience feeling let in by the PTS community.
You see, we joined PTS a little over a year ago for the preschool and a month after we joined my mom, Ellen, unexpectedly died.
This time last year, that thing that I had always known would hurt so much when it happened, had just happened. My world felt like it was splitting apart.
The months following my mom’s death are mostly a blur, but, interestingly, I remember my touchpoints with PTS clearly.
First, Rabbi Feder left me a message. Although at the time I had never met him, his message caught my attention. In my swirl of disbelief over what had happened, a clear voice of warmth and sincerity reached through.
Then, Rabbi Delson found me on the playground after Yom Kippur services. She asked me how I was doing (spoiler alert: not well) and told me there were other congregants who had recently lost parents and asked whether I was interested in a grief group. I said, without hesitation, “Yes”.
And that began our grief group. Over the past year a group of us have met with Rabbi Delson every 6 weeks. Over dining room tables and backyard fire pits we talk about the moms and dads we love and have lost, and the Jewish traditions.
I suspect not everyone has experienced a grief group so I wanted to give you an inside peak. As my husband, Paul, said, “You may want to tell them you don’t sit around with a box of Kleenex”.
While there are tears, mostly we share memories.
I’ve learned about:
- the mom who was a holocaust survivor;
- the dad who expressed so much love that his daughter’s friends felt loved; and
- the mom after my own heart, who at age 59 moved to Texas, build a horse ranch and lived her dream
I’ve also learned that while no one is ever prepared to lose a parent, our traditions offer a path of healing, for which I’m grateful.
This book, It Feels Good to Be Let In, is not only one of my favorites, but was one of my mom’s favorites too. One of the things she most wanted in life was to be let in.
This feeling of being let in can be just as real for adults as for preschoolers. For me, it’s been about finding a community where I’ve been accepted and supported during a fundamental transition.
Thank you to my friends in the grief group; to our rabbis and to my fellow congregants who have made me feel so let in.