Thursday, December 28, 2017

A Year of Mourning- Shloshim Ends

Shloshim ends tonight. Two phases down, but for me the year has just begun. Most people do not realize that shloshim ends mourning most of the time. It is only for a parent that the mourning restrictions continue for a full year. It’s an interesting statement about the complicated relatiuonship of child to parent, a relationship like no other.

Of course, that is not to say that emotions suddenly change on day 7, day 30, or at the end of the year. There are things no one tells you about. Brain fog is the worst for me. I move through days forgetting what I’m doing. I forget. I can’t get moving. I say half a sentence and stop, not fully realizing that I did so. I am clumsy. I bump into things (even more than usual). I am tired, not physically. My mind shuts down my body.

 Today began particularly hard. It’s darker than it was. Though the days are getting longer, sunrise is also slightly later. Darkness in the morning affects me. I have trouble focusing on prayer. It doesn’t bother me at the end of the day. It feels normal then. It’s -24 Celsius. I should be huddled under my covers, but instead, I have pulled myself from my bed to get to minyan in the dark. The sky brightening slightly as we pull out of the driveway.

Today is 10 Tevet, a fast day. As we get to Avinu Malkeinu I am overcome by emotion. I need to leave the room. I sit, in the quiet darkness of the breakfast room sobbing. I am out of control. At first I fight it, but then just give in to the tears. Why now? What’s the trigger? The tune of Avinu Malkeinu? I only hear it in my head. The shatz isn’t singing. After about 10 minutes I get up, tears still streaming; finish my tefillot, and remove my tefillin. They feel constricting instead of comforting as they usually do. I want to rip my tallit from my shoulder as well, but stop myself. I straighten the siddurim of the shelves. Giving myself a job helps stem the tears. Sitting once again I practice the haftarah for Shabbat, given to me in honour of the shloshim. It’s not what I would have chosen, but no one asked me. It’s the norm. So I’ll do it. I return to minyan when I hear Aleinu. Mourner’s Kaddish is coming. I recite the words quickly and quietly, now with my tallit fully wrapped around me like a child in a blanket, holding in the tears I don’t feel like sharing.

The sun shines now, deceptively warm through the window. All I want to do today is curl up in my bed. Life has other plans.

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