To My Grieving Friend Simi

To my dear friend Simi,


Consider this a love letter to you, a note slipped under your pillow or whispered into your ear.

Consider this a song, a poem, a pledge of affection to drown out the tears. 

I am posting this online for all to read. A testament, an oath, a declaration, made before thousands who stand here as witness.

Please, hold me accountable.

My dear friend Simi,

In truth, I have no words.

I’ve known you for years. You, so full of life. You, so full of dreams. You, so full of spunk.

I watched you find your calling in fashion. Find the man of your dreams. Become a mother- twice. With your sister Chaya, build an online following through style, originality and grace– and rise as a leader in that space.

Always a friend.

And for the past three weeks, I watched you emerge as a strong, devoted, stubborn wife, fighting tooth-and-nail for your dear husband Shua (oh, Shua), catalyzing an army of do-gooders across the world, inspiring hope and belief through your vulnerability, faith and love for your Shua.

In those three weeks, dear Simi, he became Our Shua.


We had hope.

We saw in Shua the opportunity to transcend– nature, medicine, sickness, cynicism, pain.

We saw in Shua a kind, loving, optimistic, regal, present, loyal, fun, supportive husband, father, friend, neighbor, son and brother and we prayed. Oh, how we prayed. We baked challah. We said Tehillim. We gathered to sing. We ran miles. We took on good deeds. His name now rolls off our tongues and hearts, a call to G-d’s mercy, a way to awaken His grace.

You, G-d, who simultaneously seem so close, yet so far away.

Most of all, with you at our helm, we demanded miracles.

And because of you, dear Simi, we believed.

We are Believers, children of Believers.

That morning I woke up with a pit in my throat. Something felt off. That day was the worst.

I will not offer any explanations or ways to understand.

We will never understand.

I came to visit you the other night, my dear friend Simi.

You, with your tear-stained face. You, with so many friends and loved ones gathered around. You, still emanating hope.

You, sitting within a circle of your husband’s nurses, family, neighbors and friends, still speaking of light and miracles, still radiating love for our dear, sweet Shua.


I am in awe. My heart hurts for you. I want to grab you, hold you, make this all go away. I want to bring him back.

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Your sweet daughter Emmanuella is in my daughter’s class. Together, as a little, banded community of Lamplighters, they all prayed for her Daddy.

And now, in the pain, these girls still hold hope. Still long for redemption. Still want to talk to G-d. Still recognize that all their light-filled good deeds were not in vain– they joined with millions of other light-sparks birthed in the last three weeks onto a long, powerful, swooshing comet tail, following Shua into the Garden of Delight.

Children understand better than we ever can.

In our daughters’ class, they were taught that as we deal with this loss, their feelings are legitimate– to feel sadness, anger, pain, wonder, they have to only write themselves a Permission Slip and place it into a golden box.

My daughter came home from school yesterday and told me, “Mommy, I wrote myself a permission slip to pretend to forget what happened to Emanuella’s Tattie and smile.”

Oh, my dear, dear friend, Simi.

This is my testament, my oath, my declaration, made before thousands who stand here as witness:

I will never forget.

You, my friend, will have me, and countless others, in your corner, forever.

We are here for you, body, heart and soul.

We will hold you, cry with you, laugh with you, share in the memories, the dreams, the fear, the anger and everything in between.

Your daughters and unborn child are mine now, too. They are all of ours.

I will love them like I love my own. I will always care for them. I will cheer them on, offer them wisdom, tell them they’re wonderful and break-a-heel dancing with all my heart and soul at their weddings, always be curious, always open, always willing to connect.

You, my friend, are strong. You are #simistrong.

And I know that strong can mean fragile, and delicate, and sad, and lonely and wondering what will be. Strong is all of that and the army of believers you have amassed and inspired throughout this journey.

My dear friend Simi,

I love you so, so much.

Please, lean on me.

Lean on us.

We will catch you.

We are family.

We are yours.

We are one.

Through you and yours, through all of us,

Shua will live on



To donate to the Simi & Shua Polonsky Family Fund and support this family through this difficult time, please click here.