Sunday, October 18, 2009

In Memory of a Principal ....

This Shabbos was the yahrtzeit of Mrs. Rochel Reifer, my high school principal. She was hit by a car on a Friday night while on her way to a shalom zachor when I was in 12th grade. The night I found out about her petirah (death), three years ago, tonight, I wrote about her. I also wrote this poem in her memory.

… Mrs. Reifer was always there for us in any way she could be. We each had a kesher, a connection [the theme of our yearbook was connections] to her that was different from our kesher to anyone else. We were her children in every way; she delighted in our happiness and empathized with our lows, just like our mothers. …

Mrs. Reifer was always so full of life, so enthusiastic and vibrant, that it spread to everyone around her. You couldn't be upset in her presence because just being near her made you feel better. She opened the doors of her heart to anyone who knocked, spreading the glow of her life to everyone. …

When I heard about Mrs. Reifer's passing, my first reaction was to sink to the floor in shock and say, "No, it's not true, it can't be true!" Even now, I wish I could wake up and realize that this whole thing is a dream, that she'll come into school and say in her adorable accent [she was English], "Girls, why the long faces?" But in my heart, I know this is reality. I know we have to go on, taking along her teachings and living by them. We have to live as she wanted us to live, and as she herself lived, so her life won't have been in vain.

A year of memories and of pain
A year of fighting to keep sane
How in the world can we go on?

A year of health and happiness
A year of little or no distress
That we take as we go on

A year of loss, those taken away
A year when everyone does say
How in the world can we go on?

A year of triumphs and of cheers
A year without a sign of tears
That we take as we go on

A year of not knowing where to turn
A year of not knowing for what to yearn
How in the world can we go on?

A year of laughter and of hope
A year of knowing how to cope
That we take as we go on

A year of sadness and of grief
A year of incredulity battling belief
How in the world can we go on?

A year of joy, laughter, and love
A year of feeling the One Above
That we take as we go on


itsagift said...

Wow - that was beautifully written. It must've been a very hard year for you. And it was very shocking when it happened! How did you react? How did you everyone deal with it??

halfshared said...

I was also just recently thinking that it must be her yartzeit about this time. It was so terrifying when it happened and I went to an evening in memory of her shortly after it happened and was very inspired by the things I heard.

Melissa said...

May her neshama be eternal peace.

You are a beautiful writer and poet.


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