watching a sad movie about someone else’s life

except it's mine and i'm living it.

i hope to be more eloquent about what's happened, but right now words are just messy paint splatters on the canvas of my disbelief. that said, words have always been my therapy, so i am trying to cling to them, even if they don't make the sense i want them to. and somehow, this blog seems like the place to do it. soon, i want to start a journal of my own to ronen, chronicling this after, but i'm not ready yet. 

i have been very lucky in my life. i have been sad and disappointed; i have been depressed; i have experienced hardship and lost loved ones. but i have never been robbed like this. this grief, this inescapable fog of disbelief and incomprehension…i've never experienced it before. my days are filled with the awful, time consuming unraveling of bureaucratic red tape and then, the smiles of my kids i try so hard to bring out. and then they're in bed and the silence i used to crave holds something so much more painful than i ever imagined facing. 

i watch videos of him on my phone, and it is like he's going to walk right through the door at any moment – so full of life; usually shirtless and smiling and dancing with our boys. the joy he had for life and experiences was so palpable; so beautiful especially in contrast to my hermit-like tendencies. how someone who lived to move, to bike, to run, to love, to eat, to drink, to laugh, to cry, to talk, to hug, to kiss could be so senselessly taken is insane to me. 

and to say that i never saw it coming is beyond an understatement. sure, i considered the fact that one of us would likely get sick in our older age; that we would care and nurse each other through it as best we could. but this. a brain aneurysm of all the things. a ticking time bomb of tangled arteries that no one would ever see or consider unless symptoms presented themselves…and with an AVM they rarely do. what kind of world is this?

all i want to do is talk to ronen about what has happened. we would be sad together about the cruel fate someone else had suffered and he would initiate contact with them in an attempt to ease their pain in a way that always worked. he had a gift for that, for sincere empathy. and he was always confident that people who were suffering needed the opportunity to talk. that's what made him such a good psychologist. and husband. and son. and brother. and friend. and father. man oh man, what a father.

i think about our boys now, without him and my heart just breaks. what a loss they have suffered by not getting to have him longer. ari is 5, and lev is newly 2. there was so much more to do.

as for myself, when i think about the fact that i have lost the true love of my life; my best friend…i mostly feel nothing but numb. how can it be? what in the world am i going to do without him?

okay, i've exhausted myself with this ramble, but it was helpful, in the way that stringing words together always is. 


21 thoughts on “watching a sad movie about someone else’s life

  1. Oh my Dear Zoe, I heard what happened and I cried. I read your blog and I cried. How I wish I could do something, say something, anything to ease your pain but I cannot. And all I can say is SORRY I am so SORRY Ellie (Tanya’s mom)

  2. I am so deeply sorry for what you are going through. I wish you comfort and support and love. I am 6 weeks and 2 days out from losing my brother and best friend who was 30 years old in his sleep from an aneurysm. I wish daily he had a headache or some neurolgical sign we could have detected.
    Every loss is so different and In absolutely no way am I comparing. I wanted to hit others who told me stories of their grandparents dying. I am so sorry you are experiencing this shock and pain and disbelief and unspeakable loss. You and your children will be in my thoughts. When you are ready in future I found the option b book Sheryl sandberg just wrote to be slightly comforting. My mom and I tried it a few weeks out and weren’t ready. The sudden death support website was not helpful and made me feel guilty as I am a physician and didn’t detect the signs. Wishing you all the love and support in the world.

  3. Dear Zoe,
    I still remember November 2013, when you were a literary agent living in NYC, and I was driving you from our Atlanta Writers Conference. We talked the whole time about Ari and Ronen and how much y’all were looking forward to moving down South.
    I’m humbled by the failure of words during times of tragedy to convey the empathy and sympathy we feel toward others and the pain and loss we suffer. In an already cruel situation, it seems especially unfair that the tool writers use daily is so inadequate to express ourselves. So, please accept this unworthy, insufficient expression of my sorrow at your terrible, terrifying loss. And please know your literary friends and colleagues hold you, your children, and family in our thoughts and prayers.

  4. Thank you for sharing with all of us. I am so sorry. Much love, Emily Carpenter

  5. I am one of your devoted readers. Recently, my niece posted on FB about the death of your husband….seems they grew up together! I recognized your name.
    I was a young widow at 59. You are a “Baby Widow.” Unreal. Plain old sad and I am so sorry. The changes ahead of you…..the chores that will need to be done to tidy up your life…..the very young children to raise……the insomnia which is followed by frightening dreams…….wrap it all up. Widowhood must be viewed with patience, rest and help. Take naps. Let people help you. Accept the gifts of food. Mostly it is time. The clock moves very slowly and the sadness crawls all over you. I know. It hurts something terrible. Your most important job is to build up strength for your children. Each day is new. Try to organize yourself so you can do your “mothering job.” Writing is obviously an outlet so try to write each day. But, above all, rest. It helps a bit. I promise.

  6. Zoe, the strength it takes to even put your fingers to the keyboard is incredible. I am so sorry for the unimaginable pain you are feeling. Keep stringing words together. Your words are healing.
    Much love,

  7. Dear Zoe,
    We are all so crestfallen over this loss. Your words are beautiful and I hope that writing continues to provide you with some comfort and clarity. We love you and the boys.

  8. Jeff and I think about you and your loss daily and struggle to find the right words. Ronan was a shining star and is now truly your shining star. Hugs, hugs and more hugs. xo Laura

  9. Thank you for sharing, Zoe. I recall that feeling, hovering above myself watching the sad movie only to realize it was me. Over and over the disbelief. Awaking to find it’s still true. You are in my thoughts and prayers daily. Shock is hard to write about. The page stares back and the words don’t come…yet you’ve managed to free some of them here and likely helping someone. There are things that don’t make sense and there’s simply no figuring it out. Hopefully one day we’ll come to know. Hugs, E

  10. Dear Zoe, so hard to say something, anything that might make you feel just a tiny better in face of such a loss. Just be assured you are loved and admired and respected. My heart goes to you and your boys.
    My father also died of an aneurysm when he was 57. And I work with the luckier ones, the ones who survive, however sometimes with a very high price! Life is inexplicable.
    Love, love, love, from the bottom of my heart.

  11. Dear Zoe, I have lack of words on how to describe how painful it is to hear of such a tremendoues loss for you and the boys. I keep you in my prayers and send you all my love during this painful nd difficult time. Love you!

  12. Dearest Zoe, as you said, there are no words. I’ve been thinking about you, your children, and Ronen since his passing.
    I loved him. And, I love you. I’ve never met a more obviously wonderful, loving couple in grace, so beautiful together.
    I’ve held off from reaching out, thinking I would find something sage and worthwhile to say. Hoping I could somehow ease your pain, but I know I cannot.
    Know that I carry you and your boys in my heart everyday.

  13. I just read your blog and cried thru the first 4 or 5 entries. My heart hurts for you. I know that all the new adventures with school and life have to be hard without Dr. Shacham. He is truly missed. I cant imagine the pain you feel.i know how I feel.he helped me so much the past 5 years.My prayers are with you.

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