Dear Kids, ...

5:42 PM 0 Comments

Note: This was written several weeks ago. I just have not yet had the courage to post it live. I think now we are ready to do so.

Dear Kids,

Today something terrible happened. It is hard to talk to you about it since you are all still so young. To my oldest, I know that mama tried to talk with you, but it is just too hard to understand right now. To my younger children, I am glad that you are still young enough that events like these pass without you realizing it. So, I am writing this letter. Some day you all will live in a world where truths like these must be faced, and it is never easy.

We have been living in Retamim for almost a month. The people here have accepted us into their community, and we are making friends and our lives here. Every smile that comes across your faces in this Land brightens the sunshine just a little more. Your pain and hurt, brings us deep sadness. And that is why this is very difficult to talk with you about this.

You see, the friends that we have made here in Retamim are in pain. Their hearts are broken. A couple nights ago, one of the fathers was in a car accident. A bad one. Sadly, he did not make it. Today the community said goodbye and laid him to rest in ground of the community that he helped to build. I still cannot fully grasp the profundity of that act.

I wanted to write something. But I have no words that I could express to the community of Retamim that would be appropriate to handle the magnitude of what has been going on. My sentiments cannot ease the hurt. My Hebrew language not developed enough to even express my remorse to them. And when I think about the purpose of this blog--just like our Adventure--it is for you. This blog is meant to capture our story of our Aliyah for you to read and reflect upon years down the road, such as when you will be able to comprehend the gravity of sorrow that is currently felt by this loss. Like it or not, this tragic event is now a part of the story of Retamim, and therefore, it is a part of our Adventure. And because I cannot address them, I address the future yous.

You see kids, I witnessed something today that was both heartwrenching, and holy. A man that was utterly dedicated to his family, to Judaism, to Israel, and to the vision of making the desert bloom, was laid into that desert. As that was happening, beams of bright sunshine broke through the clouds and illuminated the scene. That itself was, in its own way, beautiful. The land here is holy, and everywhere you look there is awesomeness. A land full of awe. A land that is now the final resting place for a man that welcomed us and many others into his vision and home. Even beams of sunlight carry meaning.

It is the occurrence of tragedies like this shakes us to our cores. How could this happen? But to answer, we must have faith that an answer will come to us. Another tragedy is that we can allow our daily lives to become so comfortable that we forget about the splendor of life. Your mother and I came to the conclusion that we did not want that to happen to us. We wanted to live each day; truly live. We wanted to show you, our children, that life is an amazing gift that will reward you with what you put into it.

So there we were. Your mother and I. Standing amidst throngs of people listening to words spoken in a tongue we are only sort of familiar with. But even if the words passed us by, the sentiment did not. We felt the emotions just the same because on certain level, we are all connected. Tragedies like this allow us to connect on that level--even if we cannot at other times of our lives--and we were able to grieve with everyone. I hope that collective grief was comforting to the family and close friends, and will continue to be as they work through the mourning process in the coming days, weeks and months.

When you reach that age when you comprehend this, I want you to come to me. I want you to ask me about today. I want to tell you in person, with my spoken word (even though I prefer to write), what I saw this afternoon. Ask me about the funeral and the procession. Ask me what I witnessed as a community paid more respect to a single person than I have ever seen with my eyes before. Ask me about the events that unfolded before my eyes that shook me as I stood beside the grave. I will not forget. I will tell you. Just not now. Not when you are still so pure. Someday though you will need to know.

That is how life works. We pass knowledge and love from one to another through the ages. I am honored to be your father so that I can pass my torch to you.

Thoughtfully written by:

Adam Hopkins

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