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October 20, 2014 / 26 Tishri, 5775
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Part I: The Beginning


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I never questioned the wisdom of what I was doing when I was in yeshiva.  I was just doing what I was meant to do.  The fact that I didn’t really do much learning also didn’t factor into my thinking.  It almost felt like destiny to me.

And then suddenly, all of that was gone.  My entire vision for my future was gone in an instant.  I was a failure, but even worse, I had absolutely no idea where to go.  I had no idea how to reconstruct my life and decide what I wanted to be outside of the yeshiva setting.

Up until that point, the chapters of my life were pretty clear.  I didn’t have to think about the next move, because they were all part of that kollel track.  I didn’t realize it at the time, but I had really lost every definition I ever had about myself.  I literally did not know who I was or what I was going to do going forward.  My parents, on the other hand, had a very clear idea of what I was supposed to do next; I was supposed to go to college, but I would have none of that!

The decisions I made subsequently, and the experiences I had trying to make peace with my decision to leave yeshiva, while trying to adjust to a college world that was completely foreign to me, would reshape my life and present challenges and triumphs I never could have imagined.

Stay tuned for Part II.

 

Chaim Shapiro, M.Ed is a social media consultant and a freelance writer 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/

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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One Response to “Part I: The Beginning”

  1. Leah says:

    Hi,

    I can’t wait to read the next part. It’s really well written and makes you want to read what’s next. It’s interesting to see another person’s perspective on college experience and transition from yeshiva world.

Comments are closed.

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Just a few months ago, I was having a difficult time getting a refund for a missing product processed via the customer service call center at a major retailer. After spending hours on hold and having my request denied, I sent a Tweet to the company’s Twitter account.

I have a background in counseling, and I can say that the biggest mistake that I ever made was refusing psychological help after we lost the twins. I was trying to keep my tough-guy facade going, and convinced myself that I could deal with the pain.

We had suffered through an experience I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. My wife had to go through labor and deliver our children to their deaths, and I was unable to save them or even give them a little warmth while they died.

Special Note: It is an unusual phenomenon that many bereaved parents share. We can almost see our age-adjusted children in our sukkah or running up to us during a family simcha. As quickly as they come, those visions seem to disappear as we go through the life cycle. They are hard moments made harder by the thoughts of not only what could have been, but what should have been.

I had to believe that things were going to be ok. They just had to be ok. We had gone through so much, had sacrificed so much and were doing everything the doctors told us to do. I remember speaking to a hesitant professor in my Ph.D. program about getting an incomplete in her class. The conversation stands out in my mind because, looking back, I can see how odd it must have seemed as I matter-of-factly told her I was too busy for coursework because my twins’ amniotic sack was bulging through my wife’s cervix.

On our first day in the antepartum unit, one of the nurses mentioned how critical every moment of pregnancy really was. “One minute in is worth two minutes out (in an incubator).” We weren’t really expecting a premature birth, but her comment put a fine point on the importance of the care my wife was receiving.

The best way to describe our emotions the morning of our major ultrasound was nervous excitement. We had survived a serious scare with a threatened miscarriage a few weeks prior. My wife was on bed rest at home, but we had no real reason to assume there would be any new problems.

It was only after we celebrated the great news that we were expecting twins that we saw the first sign of problems. First of all, my wife was losing, not gaining weight, even as the babies continued to grow normally. Soon after, routine blood work revealed that my wife was suffering from gestational diabetes.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/magazine/potpourri/the-beginning-part-1/2011/11/16/

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