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A Letter to My Beloved Sister

November 15, 2017 | by Janaya Kerben

Thank you for giving me the gift of your beautiful soul.

To my sweet sister Hannah,

Two years ago today heaven received an angel. Words cannot express how painful and hard it has been losing you. As I woke up today, it wasn't easy. I remember like it was yesterday, receiving the call about your accident, racing to save you, holding on to you one last time, crying and praying with all my heart that you would wake up. But sadly, God had another plan.

Hannah, as time goes on, there is not a day that goes by that I don’t think of you. They say that time heals all wounds, but this wound is far too deep. It has been two years since you left this world and despite the immense loss and pain I feel, I have come to learn that no matter what we go through, we must continue to move forward, and keep our faith. You of all people have taught me that we must grow from each experience, even the bad ones. I am so grateful to God for everyday that I am alive and for all the blessings He has bestowed upon me. But most important, I am utterly grateful that I had the gift of an amazing sister, who although left this world far too soon, was so real, kind, funny, genuine, and truly knew how to live life to its fullest.

Chana, today as I continue to honor your memory, I want you to know that you were not just a sister to me, but a friend, a shoulder to lean on, a listening ear, my partner in crime. Thank you for being my nail salon buddy. Thank you for all the Spanish and Hip-Hop dance parties we had until the wee hours of the night. Thank you for being my Starbucks and Dunkin buddy. Thank you for being my Super Bowl explainer, despite not having a clue what was going on. Thank you for teaching me how to appreciate the simple pleasures of life, like eating bagels and sipping carvel milkshakes, without feeling guilty about it.

Hannah, thank you for always encouraging and pushing me to accomplish my dreams, for accompanying me to Torah classes, and making an effort to learn more about Judaism. Thank you for believing that I could become a lawyer, entrepreneur, the next shark tank winner, or anything else I put my heart toward. You’ve taught me the gift of how to smile, love, and forgive; those beautiful words that you wrote in your journal. You’ve lightened the room with your laughter and added so much light into everyone’s life around you. Hannah, when I think about my life, and I realize that things aren't always easy, I take that moment to look at all the blessings I have, and to let go of the trivial things that in the long run, won’t even matter.

I am reminded to tell those that I love how I feel. I am reminded to learn more, grow more, say sorry to those I have wronged, mend relationships, but most importantly, live my life to the fullest, the way you taught me how. I never thought in a million years that I would lose a father and a sister in such close proximity to one another, but God had a plan, and this is what had to happen. Hannah, you were a truly special soul. You helped countless people find love through a website you made for older Jewish singles. You pursued your dreams and gave unconditionally. You believed in yourself, and, in turn, taught so many others how to believe in themselves too.

In honor of you, I will remember you during the good times, and spread that light to others that you gave to so many.

I only pray that in the merit of all the good you did here during your short time in this world, and the lessons that were imparted on me and so many others will help your soul to rise higher and higher. The night you went to heaven all I did was cry and pray, but I have never once lost my faith in God, nor did I ever question his decision.

May Chana Shaina Bat Yehuda Leib’s soul have an elevation.

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