It’s me, Alex…Dafna…whichever, but you already knew that. You don’t need my name when you already know my neshama [soul] on the deepest of levels. You know who I am without explanation. You know my every struggle before it happens, and you know what the outcome will be before it all occurs. I speak to you daily, but the prayers that I say, the prayers that are in my heart and running around my mind are all very, very different. That’s why I’m writing you this letter and letting the world see it.
You know the words I want to say. Instead of expressing only my frustration or sadness, I want to express my gratitude. Yes, gratitude. From the sun that shines through my window in the morning, to the hugs that I receive that feel like home, thank you. For every person I’ve ever met, for every thing I have, and all the goodness that surrounds me, I feel appreciative to You who has blessed me with all of it. You have given me a family that supports me and lifts me up, they’re caring and there’s never a dull moment when I’m with them. They’re one of my biggest blessings and I couldn’t do this life without them. You’ve given me the greatest friends that add light in to my life daily. They add heart and soul into the mundane, they know me better than any other people in this world, and they love me both because of and in spite of it. They’re my pushes throughout the day that keep me going. I love them and feel so blessed to have them. While my gratitude is true and every word genuine, You know the feelings that lay deep within me. You know that aching that’s down to my core.
Hashem… why? No, really, why? From all of the biblical and historical tragedies, to our current golus [exile], why? I think about the pain and suffrage and it breaks my heart, but then I zoom in and look into my own life and all that You’ve given me to face, and once again ask why? Was it something I did in this life? A past life? Something I can work extra hard to repent for this coming year, and pray extra hard on the next time I say viduy or al cheyt [repentance prayers]? Maybe it’s nothing I did, it might be some part of Your greater plan, something I’m not supposed to understand at this point or possibly even ever. For whatever reason, You’ve deemed me strong enough to deal with this, and with all due respect… I disagree. Hashem, you already know this, but every day is a struggle. Every step is energy that I’m just barely grasping at, there’s not a moment where I feel any relief from the pain I’m in, and having my body change and feeling it grow weaker is an experience I’d never wish upon anyone. We all face challenges and have all had our bodies go against us at one point or another, but Hashem… all day every day? You took a vivacious 21 [now 24] year old and turned her into a person that I no longer know.
I sit here staring at this page as I’m writing this letter to You, and I don’t know if I should laugh or cry. I want to thank you for all that you’ve given me, but throw myself to the floor while screaming and crying. How is that even possible? To find myself so grateful for this life and what you’ve given me, but then feel so weak and hopeless for the future. It’s enough to make one’s head spin.
All I ever wanted was to be a wife and a mother. All I ever wanted was to live a life of happiness and following the path of Torah and mitzvos. I feel like any future I’d ever dreamed of has been ripped away from me, there’s an emptiness and a loneliness that can’t be filled. Knowing that what was once within reach is now light years away can sometimes send me into a tailspin of sadness when I think about it.
Is this what it’s supposed to be like? Waiting for answers, waiting for help, and then to continue sitting here waiting for my impending doom?! That may be a bit dramatic, but it’s so very true. I stare out my window some days and wonder if this will be the last one. One of what? I have no clue. But, the last one.
Hashem, you hold my life in Your powerful and caring hands. I am completely and utterly terrified. I have to believe that You have something bigger and greater planned for me. I have to believe there’s something meant for me that will put all of these hardships into perspective. I pray for the clarity to understand it. I pray to be able to find the good in it, and I pray to be able to figure out the purpose of this all. I am lost and need guidance, and I’m humbled enough to be able to admit it.
I don’t know how to wrap this letter up in a beautiful bow. I don’t know how one is supposed to end a heartfelt letter to G-d. But, Hashem, I give you my all. That is the best I can do.
Dafna Ayelet bas Leah