A Passover Reflection for the Survivor of a Suicide Loss
Written in loving memory of my father, Lowell Jay Herman, z”l, who took his own life on April 20, 2015
Oh Holy One,
I lay before you the broken pieces,
The fragments, once whole, now shattered by suicide loss;
Like the tablets that Moses threw to the ground.
I have wandered through this valley of shadows, this land of traumatic grief;
Just as the Israelites wandered the desert in search of a Holy Land.
But my grief knows no final destination.
Rather it is a continual path that I must travel.
It is as though I stand at the shores of the Red Sea.
One year after my father’s suicide, I am parched and so very tired;
But the waters do not part.
I hold no staff imbued with holy powers.
I must simply wade into the waters, trusting in you just as Nachshon did;
An act of trust, and faith that you will carry me through.
But my faith is shaken.
Though I do not cleave to idols that promise an end to my pain;
I have struggled to entrust it to you.
When Miriam was struck with leprosy, she was shut out from her people.
With the passage of time, the prophetess returned.
I too have felt shut out of my faith.
I have cried out for healing, just as Moses did for Miriam.
I have reviled you God.
I have pleaded with you.
And I have sat with you in silence; tears my only words.
Esa einai el heharim me’ayain me’ayain yavo ezri
I lift my eyes to the mountains. From where does my help come?
This Passover, answer me God.
I have tasted the bitter tears.
Help me to once again savor the sweet.
Let my faith be the mortar that mends my soul.
Instill within me the courage to wade into the waters; bravely like Nachshon.
May I find in them the healing that Miriam’s Well brought to the Israelite people.
Strengthen my legs to carry me across.
And just as you guided Moses on the journey, be my compass.
Oh Holy One, restore my spirit and my soul, that they may carry the fragments of my broken self with honor and dignity.
Open my heart to renewal, to shalom, wholeness; that I may carry both the hurt and the healing in the sacred space of my heart.
Help me to return again to trusted covenant with you.
You never lost faith in me. Help me to find my faith in you once again.