Sunday, December 11, 2011

I guess that between September and December a lot can happen- and did.

I buried my father 2 weeks ago.  I flew home on almost no notice to try to say Good Bye, but it was not to be.  I got the call as I was checking in for my flight home.  I never got to say good bye; but I did get to mourn.

I have gone through a lot of this year hating God and religion in pretty much all its forms.  I did what I needed to do in order to maintain the facade for my husband and daughter's sake that I still believed, but those who know me best knew it was all a sham.

What I saw two weeks ago when I went home for the funeral and shiva was the amazing roll religion and ritual can play if/when they keep up with modern science.  Being allowed to mourn in public for someone I loved together with other's who loved them had a certain cathartic element to it.  All of a sudden, I looked up and it was a week later.  Time was passing without my loved one but while it seemed to take forever it was also flying by at a rate that can only be compared to warp drive on Star Trek that he enjoyed so much.

There is also a certain sense of calm in knowing that he will never be forgotten.  I will light a yahtzheit candle each year and yizkor will become a part of my life.  It is not just me who will remember him in these ways, but also many others who loved him.  We got to see first hand through the funeral and shiva how many people he had touched.  Some of the goodness and light he brought to the world.  We got to share stories about him at different ages and stages- nothing needed to be hidden.  No one was ever told they were not allowed to speak of him, to know where he was buried, or even to think of him ever again.

This is what was denied to me in a religious framework back in February.

To me, while the shiva was most definitely centered on the recently deceased, it also helped me add a sense of closure to my trauma earlier in the year.  When I said Kadish, it was for both.  I can now stand publicly and say yizkor- and you better believe it will be for both.  Before I could only mourn my loss in private, but with the loss of a parent comes the "right" to mourn in public.  And there is something to be said for people knowing you are remembering.

There is much I won't write out of respect for the rest of my family who would not have it online, but I will say that when I went to visit over the summer, it was the recently deceased who tried to make sure other's gave me the space I needed.  He seemed to be he only one to realize that I was not the same person I had been before the loss.

When I saw him lying there cold and still I panicked.  This looked nothing like the man I had known and loved.  Someone close to me held me while I sobbed and said "that's not him.  His spark, his essence, his soul, whatever you want to call it that made him who he was, that part of him is gone.  What you are looking at is just the shell that held it.  Of course it is going to look different.  It is like looking at half a picture and expecting to see the whole thing."  Sometimes people can say just the right thing at the right time.  His "soul" was gone.  To where?  I have no idea.  But if I believed his spark lived on somewhere, then I have to believe that so does my Gaby's.

I find it amazing that as his last gift to me he was able to give me the closure and inner peace for which I have been searching for so long.  I am still sad.  I am still angry.  I am still not ready to let God toy with my heart again.  But by the end of the week I was willing to speak to God without needing to leave the room.  I could hold my family and say kaddish and, for the first time in a long time, see that I *might* be on the road to recovery.

1 comment:

  1. I am so sorry for your loss, I have been worried about you, and checking in almost daily.
    Hamokom yehnachem eschem b'soch shaar aveilei tzion v'yerushalayim.
    You expressed yourself so beautifully about your father's last gift to you, I am glad you are finally feeling some sense of closure for the loss of your dear Gabi, while you mourn your dear father. While you've experienced the loss of two of your dearest in such a short time, you are appreciating the positive outcome of the most recent loss.
    May Hashem continue to give you strength and healing and only good from hereon. "Yourinfo"