Monday, June 21, 2010

When you suffer the loss of a loved one it is hard not to feel a stinging pinch of regret. I should have told her I loved her more often. I wish she could have seen her grandchildren get married. I wish I could have been at the funeral. Even after coming to terms with the regret, solely focusing on the blessing of the life lost takes time and healing. My family is mourning the loss of my Gaga. She passed away one week ago,  June 13, 2010. At age 90, she lived a long, exciting, and inspiring life.  She was a dedicated wife and mother, a shark of a business woman, a savvy designer and artist, an outspoken Jewish advocate, a public servant, a vital member of her community,  and a loving grandmother whose pride knew no limits.  I was able to spend time with her when I went home for the April vacation, for this I am beside myself with gratitude.  

When I learned of her death, my initial instinct was to isolate myself in my room here. I had an aching desire to travel home and didn't want to be a part of village life, have to contrive a smile, or worst: allow a tear to escape in front of the children. I didn't want to talk to people about my pain.  I even felt guilty mourning the loss of a woman who lived to the ripe age of 90 in a community of mothers who lost their infant children in a senseless slaughter. But then something incredible happened, I couldn't escape the condolences.  Groups of 16 at a time came into my living room to make me tea, to ask me to remember her with stories, to support me in this difficult time. I was overwhelmed. I was encouraged to cry, but also to accept the reality that life ends.  Several of my girls composed and performed a song to comfort me. They told me to "be patient".  This means that I must continue life and be patient because we will be reunited some day in heaven. My fellow volunteers organized a minyan to say the Mourner's Kaddish and we sat shiva together and remembered my Gaga with stories of tribute.  Though this past week was a struggle, my fear of coping with this loss alone was never realized. I am insulated with love in this village, it is truly a place of healing.