Thursday, December 23, 2010


Death and morbidity is trivialized by movies, T.V., books; horror of every sort is commonplace. Death is no longer relevant when Vampires, those lingering between life and death, awake and sleep, real and ethereal, are considered a reality. Fiction replacing non-negotiables, as if fantastical thinking could change Truth. People show up at the funeral, pay their respects and go home. Life goes on- as it should, but maybe too quickly. Maybe with too little discomfort.

Isaac mourns Rebekah by Marc Chagall
My oldest daughters friend list includes a whole lot of folks from around the world. Whether they are from Indian or Romania, they have been very supportive of her, and of our family, as she and we have dealt with the tragedies of the last 13 months. DeDe (a my-age Indian woman) when she heard about my Dad's death, knowing the events of last year exclaimed, "Oh, your poor Mother. How she must suffer!" Miss. R was IM'ing with a whole group of Romania friends last week and when they heard about Dad passing away they commented, "Oh, We wish you and your Mom were here! She could dress in black and mourn and we would mourn with her!"

Last year, after Sue died, I felt so inconsolable; lost, hurt, wounded. I'm sure it was a combo of feelings from the fire, my husband being so continually ill and then her death. And we did have a LOT of support. Wonderful, kind, loving people helping out in so many ways, on so many levels. But there just wasn't a place, or time designated to grieve, partly because we were consumed with getting the house in order before another Long Winter set in.
And so I blogged : ).
And we've had great support this year too. Beautiful cards and kindness from people everywhere we go. There has been recognition of something important lost that cannot be retrieved.  But I still struggle when people ask how I am.  I'm fine. Yes. Fine. Which is a word like "nice." It really means a whole lot of nothing ( an IEW banned word!).  I'm not lost in depression or anger or grief but I'm not reveling in joy either. I feel fundamentally changed and like my head is so full of noise I'm not sure I'll ever hear quiet again and disorganized and cluttered. Is that grief or just a random global thinker shorting out?
Last year I sought out and connected with Living A Year of Kaddish, which outlines the Jewish liturgy of prayer for the dead, said in a quorum, affirmed by a communal "Amen", an affirmation of the God who gives and takes away. The author speaks of the complications of his relationship with his Dad, unresolved issues and difficulties included. He speaks of longing that will never be fulfilled, hope gone cold. He speaks of the honor that the year long ritual of saying a Mourner's Kaddish gave to the role of the deceased, despite personal flaws and lack of fulfillment. He spoke of people doing seemingly insignificant, but profoundly touching ritual prayer; like the man who prayers a Mourner's Kaddish each and every day of his life for the souls lost in the Holocaust and how this touched him and affirmed the tragedy and normals of his own loss and feelings.

Stacy Innert, Post/Gazette
I am hungry for ritual that makes sense of death for those left behind. Like dressing in black, or  an arm-band,  a door wreath dressed in black,  praying daily, hiring wailers. I appreciate the words of an Indian sister that says, "How you suffer." Thank-you. I do.I suffer because what was is gone. For the hole left.  The framework of my life is being re-worked and those relationships that I've built upon, while still providing what was, can no longer be counted on for what is or what's to come. It's odd how mourning affects a person- like a winter that falls, cold and dreary, something that just needs waited out and endured.

Paul exhorts us to rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. In a post-modern world it's a difficult thing to do,especially as we redefine death and finality, resurrection and religion, ritual, belief and meaning. Heck, it's difficult to let yourself do even when you have some definitions cleared up.



Deanna said...

I hear your pain in your words.
My heart hurts for you.
My prayers continue for you.

servingHimblind said...

you know what "Fine" means, right?
Freaked Out
Let that be of some small consolation to you ;-)