Sunday, July 8, 2018

A Year in Mourning - Mid-Year Crisis

Kaddish is a labour intensive process. Every day. Three times (or more depending on how many Kaddishes your minyan adds). I am not a morning person. The biggest shock was early on when I realized I would never sleep in for an entire year. Add in an extra job this spring/summer and a busy life, and you have a perfect storm.

This is where I found myself last week. I’d been wanting to blog for a week, but when? As the temperature rose everything became that much harder. In just a month I’ve had three migraines. I don’t blame Kaddish. It’s lack of sleep combined with too much to do combined with heat and humidity, but the constant focus on minyan certainly doesn’t help.

And so there I found myself - hitting rock bottom. I knew I hadn’t been at my best. I rambled a bit in my d’var Torah. Then, after a long day, just one hour after minyan, I walked out of Beth Tzedec thinking, “I’d better check when minyan is at Beth Emeth,” followed by the other side of my brain remembering I’d just come from minyan. Three days later I was in the midst of my second migraine. It lasted three days. Day two dawned with me trying to sit up, to no avail. I could barely stand to walk to the bathroom. The next day was no better. I finally discovered a medication cocktail that took the edge off the migraine. I realized that sometimes it’s okay to take a break. Sometimes you realize this yourself. Sometimes your body insists. This week, as the humidity rose, the third migraine made itself known. As it grew, I entered a 20 hour day, difficult but rewarding. The difference this week was my willingness to ask for help. Although the day was full it was rewarding. There was time spent in study, I asked a colleague to cover minyan allowing me, as one person put it, to simply be a “Jew in the pews,” stepping in a few minutes late, focusing on my own tefillot instead of making everyone else’s tefillot happen. Those extra minutes made all the difference. The rain came, and the migraine broke. I was able to get a decent amount of sleep. And finally, Shabbat, at home with Sean, early to bed, not so early to rise. A perfect Shabbat afternoon was spent reading, napping, reading, a very late lunch, and shul for Mincha, seudah shlishit, and Maariv. It’s a new day, a new week, and shaping up to be another busy one, but realizing I need some moments, I hope a better one.