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Goodbye For Now: A Heartfelt Tribute From Children Who Lost Their Parents In The Surfside Collapse

July 22, 2021

Itty and Tzvi Ainsworth, who died when their 11th-floor condo in Champlain Towers South in Surfside collapsed on June 24.

From the moment we got the call that our parent’s building collapsed, my brothers and I have been living in a bubble together. We spent 12 days praying and begging for our parents to be found. When I lit shabbos candles, I closed my eyes and said, “The same way You brought the building down, You can bring my parents out.” We held each other’s hands. We wrapped our arms around each other. We cried to each other. We held on to hope with each other. We repeated to everyone we embraced, “It’s going to be good. There’s still time. We’re going to have them back in our lives.” As much as we tried and hoped and begged, the news found us. We all broke as the detective informed us of our new reality. I kept asking, “Are you sure? How do you know? Maybe there’s still a chance.” There will never be enough words and time to express my love and loss over my parents, but I’m starting the process through this letter.

Dear Ma and Ta,
I decided to write a letter to you because throughout my life I’ve always turned to you in times of need. Right now, I’m in need. I’m in need of you together in my life. I wasn’t ready to lose you both, so suddenly and so tragically. I keep thinking you’re both in the next room, waiting. And I keep walking into the next room, only to be confronted with the reality that you’re not. Will I always be looking for you? Yesterday a man walked into the room and for a split second I thought it was you ta. When I saw that it wasn’t, my heart collapsed inside my body.

Ta, you have been the most reliable and loyal father to us. You have always been there. You’ve been there for your family, for your friends, for those in need. You’ve been there to help. You’ve been there to support. You’ve been there to hold people accountable. You’ve been there for milestones and hard moments. You’ve been there with your crisp white shirt and incredible wit. You’ve always been there. I’m going to miss you being there ta.

Ma, you have been the most loving mother to us. You’ve spent your life spilling love into every person you’ve ever encountered. You’ve spent your life connecting to people. You’ve spent your life giving to people. You’ve spent your life building safe moments for people to fall apart. You’ve spent your life creating pockets of love for the world to sink their arms into. Your love has carried me through so many moments in my life. I can’t imagine my life without your love.

The hardest part of going through this is having to go through it without you by my side. Saying goodbye to the two people in my life who have showed me love, support and kindness is the hardest thing Hashem has ever asked of me. Two pieces of my heart left this world with you. The loss for us feels too tremendous to handle. I still find myself asking Hashem, “please, give them back to us.”

To the people who brought us into this world, The people who gave us life, The people who brought us up, The people who made us everything that we are; There will never be a day that I won’t miss you and think about you. I thank you and G-d for every moment and every day that we’ve shared together. I pray to live my life feeling you with me, forever and always. I love you. I love you. I love you. I promise we will do whatever we can to make you proud. All our love, your children

(From The Children of Itty and Tzvi from Chana Wasserman (Ainsworth)

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