It’s five minutes to midnight. Tomorrow is almost here. I’m so so tired but I can’t fall asleep. Simultaneously dreading tomorrow and feeling that if I can just get past this, I’ll be relieved of the weight that settles in my chest whenever I think of it; I think of the word ambivalent and how well that fits.
Tomorrow is when I have to see my mother’s kever (grave), the headstone finally set up, and see it next to my father’s, and there can no longer be a space in my head where I just pretend I haven’t spoken to them in a while just because I’ve been busy. I think of how a cousin went to look at it just to make sure it was in place a few weeks ago, and innocently sent me a picture which I was not expecting. The picture was like a kick in the gut, and took my breath away.
I had to find a time to be alone and let out the feelings, and I wrote a poem.*
But now I will be seeing it in person, standing in front of them both and confronting the reality that they are gone. I have a wonderful husband and family, amazing in-laws and friends, but there is no one in the world who can replace your own parents.
I have been to funerals and shivas this year, and missed ones I would have gone to, and thought how awful when children had to say kaddish for those who should still be here to live out their lives, and of course the awfulness, the wrongness that I can only imagine in those I missed where the parents had to say it for their children.
In the words of Kaddish, it is Hashem who comforts beyond any other comforting, and this was one thing I found to be true for me this year. G-d gave them, G-d took them, and we are here to bless G-d.
It is after midnight now, tomorrow, and I will confront today’s reality with Hashem next to me.
* * *
*Set in Stone
The sun shines on but the world is dark
My heart beats on though torn apart
The house is empty of life
but full with the weight of years of memories
pressing down on its creaking floors
They rest, together and apart,
the stones above them weigh on my heart.
My insides pulled out, full of only pain,
the scene so sunny, yet my eyes fill with rain.
They are gone, gone, gone
so far away
So near in my heart-
will they hear all those things
I still have to say?
Questions unanswered, memories unclear
And no more will I hear
I love you, my dear.
A lengthy plane ride
will no longer bring me closer
One more kiss or hug, is not mine to hope for.
We said goodbye again and again,
I will miss you both
more than words can frame.
You were my start, my beginning in life
You made it possible for me to become
both mother and wife.
This pain passes though me,
So much sorrow
And still I know that in the future,
some distant tomorrow
It will return on a day, a moment in time,
when I turn to say something, share joy or pain that is mine.
But the phone line will be empty,
Our house long sold
And yet I know I will think of you,
even when I am old.
Thankful for the years we had,
sad for all those we did not
Forever your daughter,
and I will not forget.