Monthly Archives: March 2007

something to mention about time

Time…is moving…very…slowly.

How slow is it moving?  I look up at the clock and realize…that it has been almost exactly a week since she died. A week and three hours.

I’m awake in Tel Aviv, watching the clock crawl past 2:30am. Crrrrawl.

3 Comments

Filed under Life, SuddenDeath

sleep

Today is a little better than yesterday. My strange fever (yes, the one that struck the day after she was buried) broke by morning today after a night of Tylenol and cold towels.

My emotions calmed. Because I am not avel (parent, spouse, sibling, or child of the deceased) and I am allowed out of “the house,” (aka our hotel) I went for a walk to Carmel market (HaCarmel Shouk), where I purchased snacks for the family to eat (bissli chips, pistachio nougat, baklava, strawberries)…and challah bread for Shabbat.

I felt shaky on my feet, but looked up and was able to ignore my imbalance.

The market is incredible–it reminds me of the markets in Korea, full of noise and yelling vendors and food products and crowds, the kind of life that should surround a market, and a reminder of life that goes on outside the four walls of where we are sitting shiva. Carmel market will now hold a special place in my heart forever.

Seeing all that bustling life gave me fortitude.

Still fragile. But hanging on. It gets really bad, but I cling on, we all do, holding our breath, waiting to surface for a few seconds before we submerge once again.

Now I have an incredible desire to sleep and sleep and sleep.

2 Comments

Filed under Life, SuddenDeath

Grieving: the guilty part that comes after denial

IMG_4818.JPG
The picture I want up here is that of my hotel room–dark, lights off…with a crack of afternoon light streaming off the Mediterranean sea between the narrow curtain opening as it flaps in the wind. I just want to sit in the dark all day.

We are sitting shiva, to Jewish custom. The funeral has been done, we have honored her, and now we sit with our grief.

My grief cannot compare to that of the immediate family and yet I cannot bear it at all.

I cannot bear to be in the same room, to have my grief even keep company with their noble grief, and so I retreat to my room, curtains drawn, my body wracked with a strange fever, shivering and crying for reasons so overwhelming that I cannot articulate them. Guilt, anger, sorrow. What else. I’m sure there’s more. My heart can’t take it.

My duty here is to support the family and yet I am falling apart. It feels selfish for me to do this, but I cannot hold it together anymore.

I call friends, desperate for a familiar and friendly voice. I find comfort for two seconds.

She was a good friend of mine–but our friendship was on hold when she died. We were in a fight, one I thought would resolve in a matter of days…but somehow escalated so that it was hard to cross the divide a week later. Months passed and arrows still shot. A year passed, and the threat of arrows still existed. Years passed, and our silence became habit. I never hated her, but I did think we had twenty years to resolve this split.

Someday, I thought, it would naturally fix itself.

I was wrong.

She is dead! And there is no way to resolve this. No way to take back my last words to her years ago, so unkind and angry and cold.

Everyone is so sad and devastated–would she have died if ONE thing in her life had changed? If the chain of events had taken another vector? She probably would have lived. And I cannot help but feel responsible for these days.

So now I regret the fight.

It was so stupid. And I am so sad and devastated and alone.

9 Comments

Filed under Life, SuddenDeath

no words

Today, in Israel, we buried her. That was pure hell.

10 Comments

Filed under Life, SuddenDeath

nothing to say

IMG_4807

There is still nothing to say, really. I am keeping quiet. As a writer, I believe in the power of words–but even that power has its limits. We’re staring down a stark path with no deviations or meandering offramps. Each of us, with our unique grief, stumbles forward–fast, slow, running, crawling, begging, debating, bargaining, organizing, planning, crying.

Numb.
Towards reality.
In grief.

We are walking together, but so very alone.

I am struck with the aloneness of it all.

She is dead.

They discuss how…agonizingly, they discuss why. But–she is dead. To me, it doesn’t matter why or how because the result is in front of us and we cannot change it for all the world.

She is gone, all the conversations left unfinished and scattered. Our grief is so strong, we do not even dare to pick up the pieces–the disarray is hers and we do not dare to touch it. To touch it is to change it and make it ours.

On the counter, there was a piece of cheese she had been eating earlier in the day before she died, before the cheese even knew what it would become. No one wanted to move it–it was hers.

To some of us, the cheese hinted towards her eventual return, to others, it was too agonizing to move, it weighed like a house of bricks. We watched beads of sweat form, we watched the cheese curl, darken, wither.

There is nothing we can say, really.

14 Comments

Filed under Life, SuddenDeath

a cliff

Right after yesterday’s post on my afternoon malaise, I got a phone call from my husband. It was the kind of phone call you just never want to get. There was a death in the family–an incredible, sudden, terrible death.

The news barely sinking in, we hurriedly packed up to leave town, taking a rental car hundreds of miles to the family home. And now we are here, full of grief.

The entire mood is of sadness, pain, and disbelief–there were fights still left unresolved, details left hanging, all the ugly details of an untimely surprising death.

15 Comments

Filed under Life, SuddenDeath

Vegas fast forward

IMG_4790.JPG

I have excused myself and retreated to the quiet of our hotel room, as the hubby shmoozes at a business gathering. Normally, I love to shmooze and surround myself with people and stimulation, but this time, it is all just a little too much for me.

Is it remaining jetlag from London? Is it stroke stuff? Is it just exhaustion? I don’t know, but I’m finally in my hotel room, just the hum of the air conditioner, faint housekeeping noises (vacuum, the wheels of their carts), and me (represented by the clicking of my keyboard).

Ah, quiet.

The quiet is truly heaven, and now I’m starting to feel a little rejuvenated; this is in contrast to my “KIT! Keep-It-Together!” scenario less than an hour ago in a convention hall across the street.

I was on the verge of falling asleep, on sensory overload, everything sounding way too loud and moving way too fast, unable to remember things easily, unable to talk in cohesive word sequences, let alone sentences, and dreading the fact that I was wearing a mini-skirt, I so wanted to lie down on the floor of the hallway and fall asleep without my crotch on display like Lindsay Lohan or Britney Spears…or Paris Hilton. (Hey, what’s up with all the crotch display?)

Instead, I sat on the floor, legs primly crossed at the ankles, wondering how I would survive and realizing: I’m not going to make it. I had to get up and walk out.

I do love Vegas, so I’m surprised at this reaction to my surroundings! Where is my party mood in this party atmosphere? It’s gone kaput! Yesterday I was social, meeting people, feeling energized by the interactions–I went to “O” for G*d’s sake! (After years of friends recommending Cirque du Soleil, I finally acquiesced and bought tickets).

Watching “O” was like watching someone’s subconscious, or walking in a surreal dream–complete with archetypes (lost people, brides, animals like zebras, ships at sea, and tons of water of course) and a very loose narrative, one that was very reminiscent to dreams. “I was walking down the street, and then this zebra pounced out of the bushes and well then it started talking and next thing I know, I was paddling up a river where I met this beautiful princess who was crying and then the river started to flood! And then the sun shone and some frogs started singing and I was one of them and then a ship came and took us all away!” Well, that’s not the narrative arc of “O” but you get the idea.

In sum, a good show–the idea of bringing “the circus” to this level of showmanship is genius.   There are people who go to see every Cirque du Soleil show–though that is not me, as I am thoroughly satisfied with seeing just this one–I can see why they would.

I went to bed very tired and woke up with a huge headache–maybe yesterday was too much? Or maybe things literally PIERCED my psyche, leaving a wound.

Today I just want to lie on the couch and stare out the window with a blank mind.

In a few minutes, my afternoon tea from room service should arrive, and I’m going to be very happy nibbling on a scone and drinking some decaf tea in this sleepy stupor. Then maybe I will take a nap! Or watch a movie! Or just lie on the couch and stare out the window at the desert landscape, with a blank mind.

p.s. As much as I love writing, I’m so glad this blog post came to a natural end. I was wondering, “When can I stop writing this? When will this post end?” Ah, and then the circle met its beginning point.

4 Comments

Filed under Life, The Stroke, Travel