A Year of Grief
Grief is a reaction to a major loss. It is most often an unhappy and painful emotion. There can be five stages of grief. These reactions might not occur in a specific order, and can (at times) occur together. Not everyone experiences all of these emotions:It has been a hard year since I got the phone call, no doubt. And yes, I miss her every single day. Just knowing that I cannot be in her presence is enough to put the squeeze on my heart and emotions. And, it has been a hard year since I sent the letter saying I was no longer attending my beloved shul, which was exactly one month (of hell) after my mother died unexpectedly. Unfortunately, the two events happened simultaneously. Try as I might, I cannot seem to separate the two with any degree of success. The grief of one is hopelessly intertwined with the heartbreak and pain of the other.
Denial, disbelief, numbnessPeople who are grieving may have crying spells, some trouble sleeping, and lack of productivity at work. It may take a year or longer to overcome strong feelings of grief, and to accept the loss. Grief should not be prevented because it is a healthy response to loss. Instead, it should be respected. Those who are grieving should have support to help them through the process.
Anger, blaming others
Bargaining (with G-d)
Depressed mood, sadness, and crying
Acceptance, coming to terms
The emotional journey through this time has been indescribable, although I have diligently tried. Losing the foundation and foothold that was my mother along with the unbelievable betrayal of friendship by my closest circle was very, very close to facilitating my undoing. Traveling dark paths of grief and loss is not something I relish repeating. This experience is not something I will ever get over, I'm afraid to say - at least, that is the way it feels now. The pain caused by a few, that reverberated to many, is something for which those responsible will have to give answer. I sincerely pray that the Almighty have mercy on them when the time comes.
I have spend many, many hours this past year ruminating this unfortunate turn of events. I have reached a bottom line, with the help of some of the most beautiful souls a person could count as friends. That conclusion is this: the desperation of jealousy and the resulting manipulation is a dangerous thing. A sad, sad state of affairs this is for all involved.
So, what is the moral of this sad story? There was no way to avoid the searing ripping of relationship that is death; I will continue to miss my beloved mother until I breathe my last. Regarding the other, perhaps a knee-jerk reaction would be to protect oneself from getting involved with others on an intimate, personal level. I can most certainly understand that way of thinking. Self-preservation is a strong urge, without doubt.
However, for me, that is not what the Master has in mind. I am to work through my grief, with those that He has sent for that very purpose. And as the grief process continues, I am to worship Him. I am to worship Him in all things, even as I look back at such a dismal and depressing year. I am to worship Him as I miss my mom so bad it makes my heart physically hurt. I am to worship Him even as I shed more tears of loss, when memories rip through my mind unbidden. Even as I know that some haven't even given anything a second thought - or if they did, it would be with disdain in their hearts. Even still...I am to worship and serve. And forgive. Thankfully, I have no issues with forgiving any of them. I'm just left with the residual, deep and sometimes overwhelming sadness.
Yes, I'm still alive. A fact that amazes me even now. I'm alive and serving. And laughing...and giving. And I'm thankful. I'm not thankful for the grief yet; but, perhaps someday I will be. I'm thankful for my ever-supportive husband and for my kids who have been so supportive despite their own distress. I'm thankful for the constant love, care and protection of Lisa, Kevin and Netanya. I'm thankful for the unconditional love of my Dad and for the integrity of my friend Barb. I'm thankful for Marilyn, who kept the light of Shabbat alive for me during dark days. I'm so very thankful for Lynn's honesty and for Brent's compassionate care and shepherding. I'm thankful for my devoted sister Laura and my dear, dear friend Patty. I'm thankful for letterboxing friends who encouraged me when I was at my lowest and for Star Wars costuming friends who managed to keep me distracted when it was needed. I'm thankful for Cherrie and Mark and so many of the loving believers at Life Center, aka 'the hospital', who didn't need to hear all the details to see that I was bleeding to death and needed love, and a place to be. All these loving friends and family put to shame those who were seeking to assassinate my character for their own purposes; I praise the LORD for these precious souls every single day.
It has been a year. A year of Shabbats; some of which I sat alone watching a computer screen through many tears and some of which I was surrounded by my beloved Chaverim. And now I know just how much pain and heartache I can endure and still live. Still believe. Still pray. Still breathe.
I am breathing...and still grieving. But thankfully, I'm slowly making progress through the process.