When tragedy strikes, we all feel it. We feel the horror, and we likely feel the family's anguish as well. We think: what would happen if we were in their shoes? How will the family go on now? How can they carry on under such tragic circumstances?
Of course, we feel for them and worry about how they will go on. Depending on how empathetic we are, this person or family might frequently be on our minds.
I was that person whose family went through one tragic loss after another. And I am sure that people said, “How can this family go on? How will they do it?”
I won’t tell you that it was fine or even amazing since I felt Hashem every step of the way and knew that He was there with me. It wasn’t so fine. It hurt, and it hurt badly.
But I did learn an important lesson. When Hashem gives a person a nisayon, He gives them the tools to deal with it. It might take a lot of digging to access those tools. It might take a lot of hard, draining emotional work. But a person in any situation can pull through.
Now I am not saying that next time you hear of a tragedy or someone going through something difficult, you shouldn’t feel for them because Hashem will help them.
No. Outsiders looking in we should feel and care for someone in any way we can. And yes, we can wonder how they will go on.
Let me tell you, from someone who has been on the inside, we need your empathy. I want you to feel for me. But know that even in the most agonizing circumstances, Hashem will help me. He will send me messages to show that He is here for me. He will give me clarity as to which tools I need. But it isn’t for the world to tell me. That is something for me personally to work on internalizing.
When I heard Simes’ story, I couldn’t imagine how the family would survive. How could they possibly go on? How could they live with a powerhouse father who was now a paraplegic? How could the wife, who was expecting a baby at the time of the accident, become a mother and father to her children? How would she be able to act as a nurse to her husband and keep the house running? How would she be able to do all that and still maintain her respect for her husband and ensure the children could also continue respecting their father?
As an outsider hearing the story, I couldn’t imagine.
Then I got a view from the inside. Mrs. Shaindel Simes, who I gleaned was always a very special person, dug deep to pull out the tools Hashem had given her to navigate the challenge.
Despite the struggles, despite the pain, and despite her wish that this had never happened, Mrs. Simes thrived and grew and helped her children grow and flourish as well. After several years, Rabbi Simes passed away, and Mrs. Simes became a young widow, raising her children alone. But she continued to dig and thrive.
This is a traumatic story. But as soon as you hear Shaindel’s voice, you will sense the positivity and upbeat attitude. Her take on life is incredible. She is incredible. This podcast has so much to offer to those going through traumatic events, those who have experienced the loss of a loved one, or those who know someone who has.
I appreciate that she shared her story with you and me.
Hashem should continue to give her the strength to carry on.
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