Wednesday, February 10, 2016

I’m still in a haze.

I just wanted to give you an update on where I am at.

I’m still in a haze. I can’t write everything out yet. I think I want to at some point. But for right now, I just want to write where I’m at.
     I first learned of my brother’s condition (which we didn’t initially realize was so critical) on January 15th. He actually died and was revived that day. My parents (who live in Illinois, as do I) flew out to California where he was. I wished I could go too, but there was no way.
     There was a lot going on in the hospital to ensure where things really were. After great care was given, it was seen that he did not have any brain function. A lot of time and effort were spent ensuring there really was no chance of function, so his official date of death was January 21st.
      He was able to donate organs, which was a comfort to us. So between that delay, and the delay in bringing his body home (which was rather shocking in how long that took to clear all the official hurdles), as well as the kind consideration in not having his funeral land directly on my birthday (February 2nd) as it would have from all the delays…his funeral was February 3rd.

So one week ago today I was there, at the funeral.
I stayed with my parents and some extended family and friends until Saturday, when I came back to my house with the kids.
Monday was the first day where I was back to “normal” --- meaning being a mom of three kids, while being super duper sad.
So far I’ve not done much of anything other than keep us alive. I’ve taken baths at night, but I barely ever wash my hair. I haven’t bothered with makeup. I essentially live in the same clothes, which are basically pajamas/yoga pants/teeshirt/sweater. I haven’t really left the house. (Well I did go to a thrift store looking like a pj-zombie -- just to have some non-mom time.) I skipped church.
Sleeping has been really hard to do since the funeral. But I’ve never been so soul weary and exhausted in my life. I hate admitting it’s bedtime because I really hate that quiet darkness. But in the morning I can’t imagine why getting out of bed would be a good thing.
I’ve found strength in coloring the last two days. It gives me focus and takes wild thoughts and gives them paths.
I think this may be a year of art for heart's sake. I sense an art supply shopping spree coming on. Need better color pencils… need water color paper… need………...
Coloring page found here.

At some point in my life, I’ve watched a couple movies and shows where people “Sit Shiva” which is the Jewish mourning tradition. I looked it up today. To see what it is specifically. And It’s good. And it’s fairly similar to what I’ve been doing. I of course was not doing all of it -- but the heart and soul of it for sure.
Its spending the 7 days after the burial, essentially doing nothing (my terrible summary may sound irreverent to those who observe, I don’t mean it that way.) People wear mourning clothes, no one does make up or shaves, you cover up the mirrors, you sit on low seats to symbolize how you feel, you don’t leave the house, and you honor the mourning process together.
I wish everyone got this tradition, not just Jews. I wish everyone knew that for at least 7 days after a funeral you get to wear sack cloth and not give a single thought to anything else.
I think it hit me especially that it’s the 7 days after the burial. Because for us it took so long to get to the burial. And the emotions were quite different after that moment. I was sad before. And sad after. But the realness changed things.
So I guess today is officially my last day of “Shiva.” Makes me wonder if I should start washing my hair yet.

I’m not going to worry about it. I’m gonna end my Shiva when I end my Shiva.

But when I’m ready I really liked this part of Shiva’s ending:
Isaiah 60:20 is recited “No more will your sun set, nor your moon be darkened, for God will be an enteral light for you, and your days of mourning shall end.”
And mourners may take a short walk around the block to symbolize their return to society.


  1. Loved this... ❤️❤️❤️ Mmmmm, mmmmm .... Perefect ... ❤️❤️❤️❤️

  2. My dad's side of the family does something kind of similar, at least in an everyone-mourns-together sort of way. We do a novena (nine days) o prayer and fasting together. I can't remember if it's before or after the actual funeral... But it's very helpful. No one has to cook a whole meal, and everyone has time to grieve together and remember the person's life, and with so many people there's always a mix of those who were very close and are very sad, and those who are more emotionally stable at the time and can provide support for those who need it. And then the kids, who are usually clueless and just enjoy the time with their cousins. Anyways, all that to agree with you that having a time of mourning that is recognized and perhaps shared by others is so so helpful.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts! I'm still keeping you and your family in my thoughts and prayers.

    1. Wow -- yeah that sounds like a wonderful way to mourn. I wish that came as a standard for grief for anyone. We did essentially have that kind of set up at my parents until I came back to my house. But I guess I wish more people realized it in an official way, ya know. It’s just nice.
      Thank you for your prayers. I very much appreciate them.

  3. Honestly, the Jews know how to honor the beautiful moments (such as a bat mitzvah) but also the hard moments of mourning. My mom has worked a lot of shivas over the years and it simply makes sense. Life won't ever be the same but to expect to jump back in the next day? That's crazy. Praying for you Lydia.

  4. How very generous of your brother to make the choice to donate his organs and honorable for the family to support his decision. This makes my heart sing. My mom suffered from a rare disease & donated her brain to Mayo to help others. (Good thing for us as well--we discovered it was a different more rare disease than what doctors diagnosed.) I, too, exist in this static place called mourning. Since Dec 2013, I have lost close family members & family friends (6 or 8; don't want to remember). I think we do not give enough awareness or importance to mourning. I feel like wearing an outward sign of mourning to alert others when I have to go out. Why? Because I'm off kilter, shaken to my core and it's a way to let others know I need additional kindness and fewer expectations. Also, it's a way (for me anyway) to honor my loved ones. I have a lovely rhinestone heart pin that belonged to Mom & I sometimes I wear it upside down (secretly wishing it had a blue tear shaped gems dangling from it for ea person very special to me who is no longer on this earth). Why does our society have instantly recognizable symbols for almost anything except mourning??? I believe we will never stop missing them but somehow the ache will lessen. Peace be with you, choklatslutz from fb.

    1. I’m so sorry for all your loss and heaviness you hold. I agree, it would be so helpful to be able to wear something on the outside to show some of our insides. I wish we still had morning clothes in society. I think it’s a huge shame they aren’t still in play.


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