My Invisible Line of Connection

Today is the first day of the second year following the death of my son, Mitch. It is also the date upon which I had committed to beginning a blog about my spiritual journey and contemplations. This morning, God provided one of those “Invisible Lines of Connection” of which Larry Kushner writes to prove that this is the right day.

I was crossing from Penn Station to my Midtown office in NYC, picking out a different route, as I do each day. Rounding a corner, a young man caught my eye, and then my body in a tearful hug. He is the loving brother of a wonderful young woman, Amy, whose wedding I performed 10 years ago, after connecting very deeply to her and her fiancé during preparation. One month later, I received a sobbing phone call from her husband, Brian, telling me Amy had died very suddenly. Post-mortem examination revealed an undetected cardiac defect had taken her, very much as happened with Mitch all these years later.

Her brother, Andrew, told me today of the “lost years” that followed Amy’s death. It took him a long while to find his way back again fully into life. But he found it, as did the rest of her wonderful family. As we are doing, even now.

Yesterday was Mitch’s yahrzeit. It was a beautiful day, unseasonably warm, and when we visited the cemetery my wife, Rachel, and I could both feel Mitch and God smiling upon us and telling us that we and our family and his multitude of friends are going to be okay.

This morning’s invisible line of connection with Andrew tells me we read the signals right. He and I both believe that Amy, Mitch and the One conspired together to help us find one another – and to help us know we will continue to find our ways forward, with them forever by our sides.

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Rabbi Rex D. Perlmeter

About Rabbi Rex D. Perlmeter

Rabbi Rex Perlmeter was ordained at HUC-JIR in 1985 and went on to serve as spiritual leader of Temple Israel of Greater Miami and the Baltimore Hebrew Congregation. After serving on staff at the Union for Reform Judaism for five years, he has gone on to found the Jewish Wellness Center of North Jersey, a practice dedicated to supporting all engaged in "seeking Oneness in body, heart, mind and soul."

17 Responses to “My Invisible Line of Connection”

  1. avatar
    Rabbi Steve Weisman Reply February 2, 2012 at 2:29 pm

    Rex: I am glad you are doing this for yourself… I cannot begin to imagine how much help it will provide you. And I am even more glad that, as always, you are willing to share… I am honored to be (if I don’t ramble too long) the first to respond…

    I pray that we, whom you are allowing to join you on your journey, will be able to give back to you nearly as much as I know you will be giving to yourself and to us in your sharing… And thank you for beginning by reminding us just how much it is possible to find if only we are walking around with our eyes open, the blinders that prevent us from seeing the possibilities removed… Yashir Ko’ach! May you and your family continue to grow from strength to strength…

  2. avatar
    Joan Mogul Garrity Reply February 2, 2012 at 4:35 pm

    Dear Rex,

    I didn’t realize that Mitch and Amy died of the same condition. Her mother, my friend, Sylvia cut ivy from our front yard to decorate for Amy’s wedding. I have often wondered how she puts one foot in front of the other each day, and I wonder that about you and Rachel. But you do, and Sylvia does, and you honor your children by doing so. From the midst of my own family’s current chaos, I receive your words as a gift.

  3. avatar

    Dear Rex and Rachel,

    This is so beautiful and poignant. Thank you so much for sharing this Torah.

    Have you by any chance been in touch with Rich Agler?

    Best always and may God bless you and your family!

    Fred Guttman

  4. avatar

    Sending love, and hope, and prayers of healing to you, Rachel, and the entire family….

  5. avatar

    Your blog touched my heart. Thank you for reminding all of us about the many invisible lines of connection.

  6. avatar

    Dear Rex,

    How wonderful to have a profound glimpse of your journey. I absolutely believe that there is a continuing line of connection between you all and Mitch, just as I feel one to Paul. In my experience, keeping our souls open to that idea brings a really deep sense of being woven into a fabric that transcends the physical membrane that separates life from death, and from that an underlying comfort that holds solid even in the midst of intense spasms of grief, and prolonged periods of yearning and sorrow.

    I thank you for writing and sharing your experience.

    with love

  7. avatar

    Dear Rex,
    Thank you for your profundity, your heart and open soul. We still go out and look at Mitch’s star and my kids tell him what is happening in the world. I wrote a chapter for my book today on “Creating a new normal” that is what you and Rachel have done. Miss and love you both. Miss Mitch’s smile at Ner Tamid.

    with love, the Edelmans

  8. JanetheWriter


    Thank you for sharing your journey and the invisible (or not so invisible) lines of connection that Mitch continues to foster for you. I have found that my own writings about my mom and the many connections I’ve uncovered since her death are a comfort. I hope the same proves to be true for you.

    ~ Jane.

  9. avatar

    Thank you for sharing your heartfelt words. The depth of feeling in response has been beautifully expressed by those posting above, and I share the sentiments.
    It was a privilege and a pleasure to study Torah with you at the Shabbaton on Jan. 28.

  10. avatar

    Dear Rex,
    Your post reminded me again of the unexpected preciousness of each moment. I value the time tha we shared together in IJS Cohort 4.
    Shabbat Shalom,
    Dan Liben

  11. avatar

    My heart weeps for you and Rachel and all of your family, as it does for our loss of Amy. In homage to her, I continue to try to live my live most fully, even in the shadow of her loss. Hopefully our children can live on in the acts of lovingkindness they have done, and that we can do for others. Your note, and the responses of others, are a wonderful connection and support in this life journey. Thank you.

  12. avatar

    It has taken me a dozen years to realize that my grief is no greater or different than others’ who have lost siblings or parents or children. We all know something about loss. Rex, your blog helped remind me how fortunate I am to have others willing to invite me to share their lives. I intend to try harder to accept these invitations. Thank you.

  13. avatar

    My friend Carol forwarded your link to me today. We, too, have lost a beautiful son. Blessings on your family as you begin your walk though the second year.

  14. avatar

    Dear Rex … Ellen, Katie and Aiden join me in wishing you continued and increasing strength in your family’s endeavor to live fully and meaningfully … with Mitch as a loving, inspiring light to guide you along the way. Billy

  15. avatar

    A beautiful post, Rex. The world is fortunate to have such insight & positive spirit from a rabbi like you.

  16. avatar
    Your newly adopted son Reply February 8, 2012 at 3:37 am


    After last weekend and our small conversation during the party I have gained a greater understanding for life and what it’s all about. You and your family have inspired me. You son has inspired me. I will defiently see you in a few weeks when I’m home for spring break. Just wanted you to know the family is iny heart.

  17. Lynn Magid Lazar

    Dear Rex,
    This is certainly not the first time that I have known that you are a wise and caring teacher. This blog just underscores it! Thank you so much for sharing yourself with all of us. Sending virtual hugs to you and your family.

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