Thursday, July 26, 2018

A Year of Mourning - A Grandchild's Memory

A letter came from Keren this week. This is not a surprise. She's away for the summer, and is usually a pretty good correspondent. She wrote 10 the 10th of Av, the day we observed Tisha B'Av, the national day of mourning for the Jewish people. It's a day associated with multiple tragedies in our history. For Keren, and now me, one more.

Tisha B'Av is a difficult day. It fall in mid-summer, a time when waking hours are long and hot. The liturgy is longer, but does not fill the day like on Yom Kippur. Focus is harder. The day drags on. Keren wrote, "Last night, at Eicha, I realized that exactly two years ago was the last time I wrote a letter to Papa, right after you told us his kidneys failed. I don't think his death has hit me this hard since the shiva." we didn't know then, but that was the beginning of the end, an end that would take almost a year and a half. Perhaps it could be marked earlier, with an infection that led to the antibiotics, which led to the kidney failure. We could even look much earlier, all the way to his genetics. But, in truth, he was never the same, physically or emotionally, once he began dialysis.

It's led to a difficult week. I wonder what my father thought upon receiving Keren's letter. Daddy suffered from depression. It masked, to him, how truly loved he was. And so, this week, thinking of the human interactions and failings that led to the destruction of the Temple (at least in legend), I am also thinking of the interactions and failing that led up to my father's death.

The 10th of Av is exactly eight months following my father's death. 17 months after we told the kids. Four months to my father's first yahrtzeit. Over and over it just keeps knocking my on my ass. Constricting my heart. Bringing tears to my eyes. Clogging my throat. Filling my mind. Leading my own personal lamentation.

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