February 27, 2009

Renewal and Sitting Shiva

We renew a lot of things during our lives. Insurance policies, lawncare, contracts with landlords, phones all have renewal policies. Cancel is not a pretty word. Either to hear or to say. We renew vows of love on anniversaries and Valentines' Day. Renewal is a two faced word. It is all about making a choice to start over and refill our safety net we weave each day in relationships we have with friends and things around us. So how do we handle renewal of soul when we are unable to mourn with people around us. Sitting shiva for Bess is tough. Tough because we don't know the people who are coming to comfort us. Are they friends of Bess's, members of the synagogue or caring people at all? Or are they voyeurs in the business of grieving? Do they come instead to gawk at the things in Bess's life and exude envy as they point and stare? It is impolite to stare at any time and especially when prayers are going on in one room and we have to keep watch not only on the Rabbi but on the people supposedly coming to sit with us. Perhaps people no longer know their manners. That's a slam we usually say of young people. But these people who stare are over 60 and some are over 70 and a few are up over 90. You would think someone would have pulled them aside and said, "enough." I plan to put up large signs when I die about how to behave. No pointing, no nasty asides about the people who are actually there to grieve. Nothing to distract from the process of processing a loss. I probably should have a written waiver that if someone says they will behave and doesn't will be invited to leave immediately by someone who is allowed to put a boot up their backside. Since when do mourners need bodyguards? It is a sad time. Much gets revealed when we lose someone. Ugly, sublime, coddies and dairy platters. All of it is part of the swirl of life and death. And renewal? That will have to be a personal journey, at least for me. Communities ... communal grieving ... well, it is as good as the trust that is involved, isn't it? Tough. I will keep you posted on how to find renewal as I find it along the path. Life is a bumpy road...sometimes the landing is hard to deal with than the view at the top of the bump. Sometimes the view is better. Up and down....

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