Elie's Expositions

A bereaved father blogging for catharsis... and for distraction. Accordingly, you'll see a diverse set of topics and posts here, from the affecting to the analytical to the absurd. Something for everyone, but all, at the core, meeting a personal need.

Powered by WebAds

Wednesday, February 01, 2006


Earlier this week, Chayyei Sarah noted the 20th anniversary of the space shuttle Challenger disaster, and asked if we remembered where we were when we heard the news. I confess that my recollection of receiving that horrible report is vague at best; I have a much stronger memory of when I learned of John Lennon's murder, a bit over five years earlier. As a flimsy excuse, I was a newlywed when Challenger happened, and had a lot on my mind!

Now, just a few days later, we mark another, similar sad date - the third anniversary of the space shuttle Columbia tragedy. In this case, I remember exactly what I was doing, not when I heard the news, but when the fatal accident was actually occurring.

Saturday, February 1, 2003. I was a bit late to shul that morning and was sort of half walking, half running along the slick sidewalks. As I negotiated a particularly icy downgrade, I lost my footing and landed hard on my left hand and right leg. Both were significantly gashed up and my suit pants were totally ruined, with a huge hole torn in the knee. This tumble occurred at precisely 9:03, the same minute as the shuttle disaster.

Was this pure happenstance? Or was there some kind of connection between the events, a bad karma that rippled down from the skies and triggered my loss of balance even as Ilan Ramon and the others were losing their very lives? Not too many months ago, I would have scoffed at the very suggestion of the latter option. But after my experience during Aaron's passing, I'm a bit more open these days to the prospect of the paranormal.

As I wrote once before, our family experienced another odd coincidence of events, in this case a confluence of the joyous and the tragic. On Friday, December 15, 1995, Debbie's father, already in the hospital for diabetes-related issues, fell while walking and had a serious concussion. He never regained full consciousness and passed away ten days later. At the same hour that he fell, in another hospital 40 miles away, Debbie was giving birth to our daughter Shayna. All weekend Debbie wondered why her mom hadn't called after Shayna's birth.

There is so much in the world that I know I will never understand - Aaron's loss, of course, chief among them. But events like these can't help but make me wonder if I'll ever have an inkling of the Divine plan - and what part I am still to play.


At 2/2/06, 3:15 AM, Blogger Jameel @ The Muqata said...

Elie -

Actually, I rememher exactly where I was when I heard about both the Challenger and Columbia disasters.

Challenger: I was in the Beit Midrash in Yeshiva in Israel, and 3 or 4 people ran up to me to tell me. Why me? Maybe I have that "spacey" sort of look, that would make people think I'm interested in the space program (which happens to be correct).

Columbia: I just walked into shul before Maariv when 2 or 3 people run up to me to tell me the news. Nothing's changed in 18 years? I'm still spacey looking?

Just as maariv was starting on that motzei shabbat, the IDF sent out a beeper msg to me of the disaster.

While I always hear the news, "as it happens" from a myriad of sources, I wish I would have good news to share as often as not so good news.

May we all merit hearing lots of good news in the future.

At 2/2/06, 8:00 AM, Blogger SS said...

I can't say that I remember either with any clarity... how silly. But in any case, this was a very moving post. And I would tend to agree that the tapestry we call world history is too vast for us to see in its entirety, but there are common threads that run throughout.


Post a Comment

<< Home