i have had enough of phases–tragedy broken down into palatable steps. The grieving process and its phases after my stroke, and now the grieving process after a death in the family. Denial, bargaining, anger, depression…these steps are just small bites of eating horrid news and experiences.
So horrid would these experiences be, if they were to be swallowed all at once, that they could kill us, I think. I have had enough of grief, and I wonder if I would rather just swallow it whole–but it does not happen that way, the grief has a strange mercy and visits us in doses, hiding its bitter pills from my grasp.
So we eat the poison in little steps, barely palatable, with the hope that they will make us stronger and more immune and more learned about stuff we would rather never get to know. There is no manual, and everyday lies like mystery–the grandest novel of all.
Today is the end of sheloshim. It is now a month after we buried her, according to the Jewish calendar, and today we put a stage of our grieving past us. The men shave their beards, and we step into another phase, one that carries us gradually and further back into life. The prayers are said, the yarzheit memorial candles are lit, and a path is lit before us.
And even though it is supposed to be the end of this kind of mourning, and we are supposed to move towards remembrance and not grief, I am so very sad today.
I am sick of phases–they are just a part of something very long and difficult. And I am just not up for that today–I can barely breathe from the difficulty. The candles are just outside this room, in the hallway, casting shadows in the middle of a sunny day–even the light contains so much darkness.
When will this end?
And why does the end of sheloshim hurt so very much? We had looked forward to this day as a lifting–but instead, we are dumbstruck by the pain. And from what? From letting go? From remembering? What?