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I’m not a ‘mourner’ for Rose – I’m a brokenhearted griever

Rose Lubin’s step-grandmother: I don’t need a defined role to feel the undefinable ache and numbness of loss
Sgt. Rose Lubin, speaking at an FIDF dinner in April 2023, in her hometown of Atlanta, Georgia. (Courtesy)
Sgt. Rose Lubin, speaking at an FIDF dinner in April 2023, in her hometown of Atlanta, Georgia. (Courtesy)

As an American Jewish step-grandmother who just tragically lost a beloved 20-year-old granddaughter, I am not a “mourner” within the traditional category commanded to observe the Jewish mourning rituals.

Our granddaughter, Sgt. Elisheva Rose Ida Lubin, a Border Police officer in Jerusalem’s Old City precinct, was murdered in a stabbing attack while on duty Monday, November 6.

The heart does not understand these religious assignments.

There is a crack in our universe and while my blouse does not get ripped in the traditional custom of creating a tear in a mourner’s clothing, my heart has been sliced and a weighted stone sits on the void.

I don’t need a defined role or commandment to feel the undefinable ache and numbness of loss. I may not be a “mourner,” but I am an unconditional griever.

Grief is singular. Everyone experiences loss within the specialness of their culture, family and personality. I haven’t lost a child and my sorrow is compounded seeing the inconsolable pain in our adult daughter and son-in-law who have sustained such a loss…with an additional degree of separation by being a step – stepmom and step-grandmother and grandfather.

Stepping into another family’s life creates a maze of tunneled emotions and subtleties of relationships. Wham. A cannon bolt ambush to the family center.  Beautifully, everyone came together to support and manage all the “arrangements” of immediacy and travel abroad to Israel. Whoosh. A grand body of family members are transported to the funeral.  We were not excluded, just circumstance kept us home in Dunwoody, Georgia.

Away from the thousands of shiva comforters, we embrace the rawness of our emotions. Love does not count time. We did not know our Rose from birth. But her burst into our lives was a birthing with no sense of time. Her embrace of us into her life was total. And the hollowness of the void a deep and infinite well.

She was an incredible spirit who walked with a sprint and spoke with a smile and lighted a room with her sparkle and delighted your whole being when her face reflected delight in seeing you. Rose was fierce – a lioness with a gentle heart and the voice of an angel.

Rosie inspired everyone to push harder with exercise. She motivates me to get moving.

I want to wrap myself in a quilt and bury my soul underneath the covers, but there is a daughter who has lost not only a daughter, but a soul mate, a son-in-law who has an amputated heart and four grandchildren who have lost their beloved sibling. So many people to tend to, to love, to comfort. And her spirit surfaces within me and her strength gives me courage.

The grandmother must give comfort. I must roll the bowling ball sitting in my stomach out of my body, gather the strength of my soldier granddaughter and, moment by moment, move my grief into purpose.

But be clear, every moment I step forward, I am a griever.

About the Author
I am an Atlanta based retired independent writer-producer with a focus on social issues and travel. Highlights included working as researcher and editor with the Witness to the Holocaust Project of Emory University and community education specialist on domestic violence issues. For thirty years until retirement in 2021, I served as an emergency public information/media specialist with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and had a sobering assignment in the New York disaster command center of the 2001 September 11 attack. After this, I launched a documentary project exploring culture through the lens of bread to create more understanding among diverse people.
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