The Worst Noise in The World

It comes at me like a semi on a speeding highway. 

It attacks my soul

like a nasty infection.


I start to feel small.

A child clinging to innocence, remembering 

when I held on to my grandfather’s fingers,

realizing that my childish hands are too small for his;

I settle on his pinky. 


When I heard it

and it meant something to me, I was twenty-one. 

The party age.

But this is no party. 

This is a death march. 


I see the simple coffin where he lies with a plain Jewish star

because Jewish people don’t get buried in fancy

 coffins or clothes. 

Black ribbons that family members wear. 

Ripped in half to symbolize loss. 

An ancient tradition. 


The raw feeling of understanding that the pain is over. 

He is gone. 

Going into the ground for eternity.

The raw feeling of watching your dear sister whimper.

Please stand and repeat this prayer

Yitgadal v’yitkadash sh’mei raba…


Standing next to Anne on the right. 

Jayne on the left, clenching, the purple patterned tissue box.

realizing that I will never see him again 

or hear the stories of my childhood from his voice.

I start to feel the weight of elephants on my chest and


I

Can’t 

Breathe.


I’m a broken merry-go-round 

that won’t stop spinning.

I just want to get off and 


Can’t 

Breathe.


I want to throw up 

run far away, but

 my legs are shackled

 to the ground

Anne on the right. 

It’s going to be okay. 

Just breathe. 

It’s going to be okay.

Just breathe. 

Jayne on the left, clenching, the patterned purple tissue box. 


It is coming for me like a train at a thousand miles per hour. 


The Rabbi takes the shovel

explains we are tucking in the departed

Three times.

The dirt hits the coffin 

I almost fall over. 

The dirt hits the coffin 

This is it. It’s over.

The dirt hits the coffin


He would want this. To have Anne, Rachel, and Sarah tuck him in for his eternal slumber. 

But

Jayne collapses in Dad’s arms.

and when 

 she hears the worst noise in the world for the first time, 

She 

Can’t 

  Breathe.

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