These last few weeks have been a struggle. I have been dealing with what would be identified as extreme circumstances in anyone’s book.
I lost my last paternal aunt in my family. It was a deep emotional loss. Because of my aunt, my brothers and I, as children, stayed connected to my biological father’s family.
Because of my aunt, my paternal grandparents were a huge influence in my life.
Because of my aunt, I grew up learning about and participating in my Jewish culture.
Because of my aunt, my children were exposed to wonderful art programs as children.
Because of my aunt, I experienced art museums and a developed a love of art.
Because of my aunt, I am the person I am today.
Her funeral was outside with only 5 of us and the Cantor. We all spoke about our love for her and our appreciation for having her in our lives. We tore the black kriah ribbon representing our loss. We shoveled the dirt onto the beautiful pine casket engraved with a Star Of David. We sang the prayers along with the Cantor. I was given the yahrzeit candle. These all felt so right to me. But, leaving the funeral without hugs was very difficult. No gathering after also felt so very wrong. My heart was breaking for so many reasons.
Then on Monday, I was informed that my biological father had passed away. To say that we were estranged, would be the understatement of the century. I have seen him 3 times in the past thirty years. Two of those occasions were my niece and nephews Bar and Bat Mitzvahs. We did not speak. He came up to my daughters individually and told them he was their grandfather. Being the articulate young twenty somethings, they both said that he was not as he had never met them or known them. I mourned the “what could have been” many years ago in therapy. I was sad for my brother, because he lost a parent who cared about him. I lost nothing. I have zero fond memories of that man. He never knew me, never knew my daughters, and didn’t even know of the existence of my grandchildren, his only great-grandchildren. To write it all off as I wasn’t a son, obviously, would be giving him too much credit. He did so many “wrong things” that to me were unforgivable. He had no positive influence on who I am. Monday, I processed his passing. Mainly, I was missing my mom and wondering why G-d took her five years ago and allowed him to still be here. I can honestly say, that Tuesday, I woke up and had no feelings of loss at all for him.
I am still mourning my aunt. I am still mourning the loss of my uncle 4 years ago. I am still mourning my mom’s passing 5 years ago. Death and loss of the physical being is very different for every one.
A dear sweet friend said something that touched my heart today. She said isn’t it wonderful that we have so many good memories with our grandchildren? She was encouraging about the fact that we still will have time to make more sweet memories that they can hold in their heart.
I had my second vaccine today. I am fine and so far, no reactions. That is for another post though. I wanted to dip my toe back in the blogging pond.