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September 27, 2016 / 24 Elul, 5776
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From The Greatest Heights (Chapter I)


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Perhaps because my vision of their birth and death one hour later is forever seared in my memory, I never saw them as aging, until this last year. It was a sudden realization that the next two years were going to be very different. I suddenly realized that my wife and I would have been in the process of planning our daughter’s Bas Mitzvah had she survived. To compound the pain, the day after her Bas Mitzvah celebration we would have started planning for our son’s Bar Mitzvah. Two years of planning and celebration that will never be, two years of joy and happiness ripped from our lives forever.

It is important for me to tell the entire story, from the demeaning infertility process, to the exuberance at hearing the greatest news possible, to the prayers for a miracle and the sudden devastating realization that all is lost and that we are powerless to stop it.

I understand that this series will touch on some very emotional issues, and I understand that the process of telling this story will force me to revisit the darkest moments any person can ever experience in excruciating detail, but I feel compelled to give my son and daughter a voice. My son and daughter never had the chance to create their own legacy, and I need to try to provide one for them.

Several people contacted me following my series about my college experience to tell me that I was really telling their story. They felt that I was giving voice to things they had long felt, but were unable to express.

I am under no illusions that I will be able to provide any comfort to those parents in Newtown anytime in the near future, but if I can provide some sense of comfort or meaning, no matter how ephemeral, to grieving parents who know that the pain will never go away, I can at least feel that I have done something positive in the memory of my beloved children, Asher and Devorah.

Chaim Shapiro

About the Author: Chaim Shapiro, M.Ed is a freelance writer, public speaker and social media consultant. He is currently working on a book about his collegiate experience. He welcomes comments and feedback at chaimshapiro@aol.com or on his website: http://chaimshapiro.com/


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