Monday, December 22, 2014

Second Chanukah: More Light

Not too bad, I say to those who inquire how I am this holiday season. I can share a bit more in the sense of anticipation and celebration. I can gaze at Chanukah candles without the blur of tears. A candle meditation suggests focusing on the darkness in our lives and how we can bring more light to it—and instead of suicide loss, my mind fixes on a friend who just started hospice. I can hope that he finds solace in his little grandson, who was born the day of my son’s funeral 21 months ago. 

Before Noah died, I prayed for healing for his despair and for the rift between us. Since his suicide, I’ve prayed for guidance in walking the mourner’s path. How to give voice to our grief, cherish Noah’s memory, support others and ourselves, and restore our lives? I need this help and more as my prayers shift. How to be grateful for my living son and deepen our connection? How to be fully present as the mourner’s path wends increasingly among the living and less often through isolated stretches in a world apart? 

A few weeks ago, my husband suggested that I play something on the piano. I looked over at the piano, laden with a scrapbook of Noah’s life and a dozen framed photos of him that hadn’t been moved since his funeral. I knew I couldn’t make music on the piano under that weight. At the same time, I was wary of dispersing the photos and having fewer reminders. We talked; it was time. We found other places for the scrapbook and all but two of the photos. Now when I look at the piano, I feel lighter. There is room to breathe. A few nights ago, I finally played and my husband sang.

All is not goodness and light. When alone and thinking of family these past weeks, I shout: “Where are you?! Why aren’t you here?!” Self-blame rushes in on a tide of anger, a litany of why's.

How are you? Ebb and flow, flow and ebb. In mourning, we can only feel our way through, now and around the year.

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