Ostara and the Moon of Mourning
Monday gratefuls: Kate carrying two liters of water in her backpack as we toured Pompeii. Mark’s kind remembrance. Rabbi Jamie, Jamie Bernstein, Marilyn Saltzman, Alan Rubin. Shiva. Zoom. Joe and Seoah. Mary’s U.S. home.
Sparks of Joy: A walk to the end of the driveway and back.
The end of shiva. The ritual that marks the end of the first period of mourning is simple, but profound. Those gathered accompany the mourner out to the end of their driveway, then form a line through which the mourner passes on the way back home.
In the traditional shiva mourners do not leave home for seven days. This ritual reintroduces them to the world beyond their home. In my case it told me that there were folks who did and would walk with me as I emerged from the first shocks. Including SeoAh who walked beside me between the line formed when we all turned around.
Rending a garment. Another part of the ritual I observed last night. I still have the shirt I wore on my first date with Kate. Before everyone came I cut it with scissors, then ripped it over my heart. This symbolizes the tear in our world occasioned by Kate’s death. I will never wear that shirt again, but I do plan to keep it.
Buddy Mark Odegard suggested I keep some objects as remembrances. Of course, the quilts and pillows and wall hangings and counted cross stitches. But also her signature look red glasses. That shirt. One of the many single purpose kitchen tools. Maybe the cherry pitter. Probably some others. I’m going to put them all in a box and open it on her yahrzeit next April 12th. Not to mention, too, the house.
Religions, I believe, are a deposit of knowledge about how to be human in an uncertain and frightening world. They often make the mistake of assuming they have the only correct answers; but, that’s human, too. Judaism has so many kind and humane rituals, rituals that speak to our need to mourn, to celebrate love, to greet the new moon, to honor the harvest, to honor trees, to commemorate our very human need for liberation from all forms of oppression. And, many more.
I’m still fatigued, but less so than a week ago. I’m still distracted, unfocused, but less so than a week ago. I no longer feel alone in my mourning, nor do I feel trapped by fear or loss or despair. This next year is a rebuilding year for me and I’m going to give myself the entire year to consider a new way of life, one without Kate’s physical presence. After 31 good years together that will take some time.
You, if you read this, are part of that journey. I welcome your ideas, input, love, aid.