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December 13, 2022

Finding the Light in my First Hanukkah without my Father.

“Look at how a single candle can both defy and define the darkness.” ~ Unknown (often misattributed to Anne Frank)
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Every Hanukkah as a child, I would wait for my dad to get home from work so we could light the Menorah (a candelabrum used in Jewish worship—one with eight branches and a central socket).

I would perch myself by the big window in our living room. And as soon as I would see his car, I would dash to the front door to hug him.

It’s been almost a full year since my dad passed away.

This Hanukkah, albeit a bright and lively celebration, will be somewhat dim for me. Not dark, per se, just slightly hazy and a little more muted.

My gorgeous Dad loved Hanukkah. And as a by-product, I still love this glorious eight-day holiday. Each night, another candle is lit to showcase the brightness of the occasion. What an incredible sight to behold—all the candles glowing so beautifully.

But I know myself pretty well, so I know that this Hanukkah is going to sting pretty badly.

For almost a year now, I have cried virtually every morning, prayed to the God of my understanding, and still ask why Dad had to leave us.

I pray for the health, luck, joy, and prosperity for everyone in my family, my closest friends, and of course, for myself. I have become more connected to my religion than ever before, and all the credit goes to the man who created me.

There’s something extremely sacred in the act of lighting candles. It not only signifies light, it’s also a symbol for life—and how quickly things can get snuffed out.

This festive holiday of lights is about integrity, resilience, grit, and grace. It’s about self-awareness, being connected to our families, and returning to our roots. What a gift that is. And what a gift that we get to celebrate it every year!

It reminds me that even if one is in the dark, some light will always shine through the cracks and crevices.

Without my father around this Hanukkah, I know that I must be more mindful and remember everything he taught me:

>> How to be a strong and independent woman.

>> How to dazzle everyone with my lively personality.

>> How to help others in need.

>> How to shine confidently on my own.

I feel like my dad is not just in my soul. He continues to light my path every single day. I pay attention to all the signs now. I see so much depth of character in myself when I hear myself uttering words of wisdom to others.

He was always the “go-to” guy for everything, and now people rely on me for that guidance and tutelage. Admittedly, it feels fabulous, and I credit my dad for all of it.

So, this Hanukkah—even though I will be celebrating without my true guiding light—I will still hold this celebration in the highest standing and make my dad proud as I sing the festive songs of joy, light, and love. I will chant, close my eyes, envision my beautiful father in all his glory, and continue on.

What other choice is there?

I will not hide in the shadows or take cover in the darkness. Dad would never want me to dim my light.

If you celebrate this joyous holiday, may it be the brightest and lightest you have ever known!

“Imagine if your cell phone battery was on 10 percent and it lasted for eight days. Now you understand Hanukkah.” ~Unknown

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