My beloved mom, Marlene Marks Kornick z”l has been gone for 3 months now & today my grief hit me hard. Today on the first day of this new year, my tears flowed like a waterfall.
Perhaps it was being on break – which meant that the busyness of my life settled down and the grief I had obviously delayed, could seep in.
Why today? Maybe it was because I was going through papers (something she was always doing…) – I found scraps of paper scribbled with hospital rooms and doctor’s visits (there were so many in the last 10 years)…
Today – I found these delicate leaves and butterflies she purchased at a craft store so many years before. She had saved them pressed between tissue paper.
The last time we were together, as we were “going through papers,” she gave them to me. Now I, too, will carry them with me.
It was so like her to save precious beautiful things.
The rawness of my grief struck me today in a new way.
I am grateful to Jewish tradition which recognizes that the loss of a beloved parent takes a full year to inhabit and process.
The permutations of grief unfold. Mourning takes its sweet time and will come upon you unbidden.
A scent, a song, cooking. Folding the laundry.
Surely the ache lessens over time, but for me, missing her has become more prominent as the months go on.
I reach for the phone to tell her something funny. I refuse to remove the “appointment” of our weekly video chat from my calendar even though it evokes tears. I long to hear her cheerfully answer “Hi Honey” when she heard my voice.
For All Of Us Who Grieve
Collectively, we are living in an ocean of loss right now. I feel connected to so many people right now.
At any time, loss and grief is difficult.
But this past year when like me, so many of you were not able to fly to be with your loved ones as they declined, or hold their hands, or bring food because of COVID-19 —
I feel you. I weep with you. It was my mom who taught me to “not keep the tears in, because they will fester”
Our traditions of grief have been shattered this past year. For me, it was especially painful to not be able to shovel dirt on my mom’s grave as her casket was dropped into the ground. In Jewish tradition, we do so after we said Kaddish, the final memorial prayer.
In Jewish tradition, placing dirt on the grave of a loved one is considered the most important mitzvah – connection – because it is an act that one does that can never be repaid. It is both heart-wrenching in its finality but also healing.
I watched, with my boys and husband on Zoom – as my Chicago family performed these last acts of kavod/honor for my mom.
There was no shiva where people came to our home and brought food and shared memories. We did them on Zoom, which was wonderful, but not exactly the same as spending days reminiscing and telling stories.
For all those who grieve – please have patience with yourselves.
I promise I will, too.