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The Quiet, and the Last Days...

Updated: Oct 6, 2020

Anyone who knows me knows that I've been working at light-speed for the last few weeks. High Holy Days are coming, our Inter/National Selichot program, which I co-chaired, is finished. Even the plans for Rosh Ha-Shanah seem to have come to a screeching halt, with last-minute preparations still necessary but largely we have completed our preparations.


So, now it's quiet.



Now it's quiet, and I realize that all of this work I've been doing, all the things that have kept me busy, were the creaky supports securing the dam that is holding in my emotions. Cue the flood.


Grief expands to fill the voids you leave it, like water finding its way into every gaping hole and tiny uninsulated crack.


In the quiet, I remember that I missed my son's first birthday. I remember that if he were underfoot right now he might be learning how to walk. I remember that this was the time last year that he was first learning how to eat from a bottle and that a doctor suggested he'd soon be leaving the hospital to come home. It was this time last year that I was not preparing to lead High Holy Days — I was on maternity leave — and instead pondering when the best time to set up a crib in my son's new room would be.


Ronen's yahrzeit, the Jewish anniversary of his death, is Thursday night and Friday. In perpetuity, he will be remembered by our family in the night and day preceding Rosh Ha-Shanah, the 29th of Elul.


I feel like Jekyll and Hyde — People who see me mostly see me smiling or focused on my work. From reading my posts, you might think that I were totally immersed in my grief. And maybe there's the rub: I am able to process my grief only in those moments I'm not on camera. In this pandemic period, so much of our lives is "on camera." Not only can others see us, we can also see ourselves in these interactions, contained within a tiny Zoom box.


This week, in the last six days of the year since I lost Ronen, my beloved third child, I commit to making the space for the grief to flow, not just to let it into uninsulated small cracks. I commit to repairing my own brokenness by connecting with friends, wishing them all a sweet new year, and checking in. Perhaps most of all, I commit to checking in with myself.


I have come through this year. I'm not sure that I'm stronger than I was one year ago, but I have certainly learned a lot about myself, about Torah, and about the world. In this week, there will be a lot to say. But first, I feel blessed that even as we are apart, we can hold space for each other.

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You are a gift to us all... thank you for sharing your heart every day in every way!

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