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Looking Back/looking forward- when last we hugged

11 0 3

A friend once told me that I carry a lot of pain. I thought she meant how I care about others and try to be there for them when they are having a hard time, but she said no, it’s like I personally take it into myself and hold onto it. I don’t disagree, but I also don’t think that’s a bad thing—I also feel genuine joy at others’ joy. I find that sorrow, like illness, is a burden that does get easier when shared. We have a mitzvah (commandment/good deed) to visit the sick, to comfort the bereaved. Even if we can’t help them, even if they don’t seem to know we are there, as in my parents’ last days, it is said in Judaism that each visitor takes 1/60th of the illness with them. So I do find that I hold my pain, and the pain of others’, but I don’t carry it every minute. Like a lost child at a store, I hold the pain and comfort it until I find the right place for it, until I can properly and respectfully let it go. Some of it stays and comes back to mind during certain times of the year or events, but I have found, as most mourners do, ways to go on and live fully even while carrying the sorrow that remains. Early on I felt that even good memories turned sad through the lens of my pain and loss, but as time passes, that has changed, and I can smile again even while tears come to my eyes.

The school year started for me on Sunday, a few days earlier than usual as my high school wanted to make sure we got into a routine before the Jewish holidays, which are very early this year, disrupted classes. September 1st, the “normal” first day of school here, was mid-week, on Wednesday. Due to my schedule, I was not working on September 1st this year, which was strange but good, as it turned out. However, ahead of that day, I was thinking about it, as it has become a significant date. I was thinking about the few other times I wasn’t working on September 1st. One was ten years ago, and I remember it because that was the year my father was niftar (passed). That Thursday (yes, some days you even remember the day of the week), we had just landed back in Israel from a trip we hadn’t planned on taking that summer. For once, we were not going to go visit family in the US, but stay home and send the kids to camp. As it turned out, that was the summer my father’s illness worsened, and he was put on hospice, so we changed our plans and went to visit. The trip was supposed to be for three weeks, but when I saw what the situation was, I added two more weeks.

We were supposed to return on August 28th, a date that would become significant just four years later, but then a hurricane added a few........

© The Times of Israel (Blogs)

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