Hurricane of the heart

My mother, my teacher, fell ill on Saturday night, almost two weeks ago. She was ill for a day and a half before she died. My two sisters, both of them nurses, were by her side till the end. She had asked that her life should not be prolonged by any artificial method. She was 101 years old, and she thought that she had lived long enough. I did not expect to be upset by her death, or very unhappy. She had had a good life. I know that life is temporary, and she lived longer than most. We buried her a few hours after she died. It was raining that day. Listening to the eulogies, I thought of how difficult it is, to depict a life in a few words. So many people knew her, and admired her… yet few really knew her intimately. And now she and her generation are gone… and the world continues.

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In our tradition, when one loses a parent, a very specific mourning period is prescribed. There are rules for the first week, and rules for the first 30 days. And then more relaxed rules for the first year after the death. During the first week, the mourner disconnects from the world, sits on a low chair in his home, wears the same clothes he wore at the funeral, refrains from bathing, refrains from study, doesn’t cut his hair, doesn’t listen to music, doesn’t look in a mirror. We are not supposed to distract ourselves. We look inward, and try to fully accept the loss. Friends and relatives come to give support. All your needs are taken care of. And all you have to do, is to listen to your heart, and relate to what has happened. I was definitely ready for that.

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looking at pictures, my mother and father

And as I thought of my mother, many memories came back. Memories of a lifetime,
of good times and bad; of choices, of mistakes, of disappointments… and the way she handled all those things. Many of my personal intimate memories were mixed together with memories of her struggles and accomplishments. I remembered showing her my senior citizen card… and her amazement. What? Are your already old, she asked. And I said yes, I’m getting old. ‘If you’re old, then what am I’, she asked again. You’re ancient, I said… and we both laughed. As I thought of her, and told my children stories of the past, I realized that even if it was time for her to die, and that had to be accepted, there was pain and sorrow at the parting. And I had to accept that too.

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enjoying life in the old age home

I have experienced the week of mourning before, both personally, and accompanying friends. It works very well. It allows the mourner to work things out in his own mind and heart. People who don’t have the advantage of this process, sometimes suffer pain and sadness for years… having pushed those feelings under the rug. It is a very good thing to work it out right away. But this time, there was an unexpected event that changed everything for me.

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together with my mother

On the second day of my mourning, war broke out with our neighbors in Gaza. Rockets struck many of the villages and cities in the south of Israel. A few even came as far as Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. In places like Sdeirot, Netivoth, and Be’er Tuvia, people had only 15 seconds to get to the bomb shelter. In Ashkelon and Ashdod you have a half a minute. In Tel Aviv you have a minute and a half. You could see children running for their lives. This is nothing new for us. Seven years ago, we moved all of the Jews out of the Gaza strip, even though Jews have lived there for generations… and even though Arabs live all over Israel and enjoy many advantages of life among the Israelis, they didn’t want one Jew living in their territory. The government saw fit to move the Jews out, hoping that this would bring peace. But it didn’t. Gazans get electricity and food from Israel. They have a common border with Egypt, but send their sick to be treated in Israeli hospitals. Still, they continue to attack us in every way they can. They shot an anti-tank mortar at a yellow school bus, hitting little children, and passed out candies to celebrate the event. They shoot at us from civilian places, using their own children as human shields. And sometimes in the exchange of fire we hit civilians… and this fills us with sorrow. We see it as a failure. But on the contrary, they aim their rockets and terror attacks at civilians on purpose.

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So instead of enjoying the peace of introspection, and dealing with my own sorrow, I became distracted, listening to reports from the radio. Even when hours went by, without listening to the news, I would be thinking about it… worrying that some terrible disaster had happened. And torn between mourning for my old mother, and worrying about my fellow citizens who were facing difficult trials, I became tense and troubled. It was a difficult time. Meantime, the week of morning has passed, and the latest military action has come to a close. There is a cease fire now, and we do hope it’ll bring peace. Last night, I visited my mother’s home for one last time. Looking at her possessions, I was reminded of her life long love for my father, and the many years they enjoyed together. Their love played a very central role in her life. I hope to write that story one of these days. May she rest in peace.

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133 responses to “Hurricane of the heart

  1. I’m sorry that your time of mourning was interrupted this way Shimon and I look forward to reading the story of your parents and their love x

  2. My thoughts are with you Shimon..

  3. Peace be with you, Shimon. I understand what it’s like to lose your mother. So many memories.

  4. So sorry for your loss Shimon, and for your troubles in your time of mourning. You are in my thoughts.

  5. Shimon my heart is filled with sadness for you. First for the loss of your mom and second for the ongoing conflict. Thankfully a ceasefire has been declared. NO matter the age, we are never quite prepared to say goodbye. Thankfully your mommy saw you grow to receive your old citizen card! That must have made her happy. My thoughts are with you Shimon.

    • Oh, please don’t be sad, islandscribbler. My mother lived a long and good life, and she was grateful for all she got… and though I am sad at the parting, on the whole, everything went all right. I am coming back to myself already. And thank you so much for your comment.

  6. Sorry for your loss, my thoughts are with you.

  7. Peace be with you Shimon. Thank you for sharing a story about your mourning and its traditional roots.

    Take care,

    Ivon

  8. May peace be with your mother’s soul, you and your entire family.
    Reading this touching account made me recall the Jewish Women’s
    Archive (http://www.chabad.org/theJewishWoman/default_cdo/jewish/Women.htm) and the rich histories, methodologies which they have taught the world. May God help you through this difficult period

  9. So sorry to hear you lost your Mum Shimon, how lovely that you got to have her for so long though. It is always so hard to part with people we love.My Mum died when I was 30 and I still miss her.
    It’s a real shame you didn’t get to spend the week reflecting, what a dreadful interruption to your mourning.
    When you say people spend a week reflecting after a parent dies, how would that apply, say to a mother with a young baby or someone who couldn’t take time off from work for some reason?
    The pic of you and your Mum is lovely, she has the same twinkle in her eye as you do……awwww xxxxxx

    • A mother with a young baby usually keeps her baby right by her side throughout. But it is amazing, how the community and neighbors help out, and make everyone feel comfortable. People bring food over, so that the mourner doesn’t have to be a host. I am doing okay, now that we have a cease fire… and I agree with you, Dina, it was really wonderful having my mother all this time. I have no complaints, and much to be grateful for.

  10. I am so sorry for your loss, Shimon; what these losses allow to surface in our lives, regarding memory and its tangential pathways, is best met with love and patience and stillness. How lovely to have at least a week to dedicate to this sacred unfolding, and I’m so sorry yours was troubled and interrupted…peace to you and yours in the days to come. I hold your healing in my heart and prayers.

  11. Dear Shimon, I’m so deeply sorry for the loss of your beloved mother and teacher. As I read your telling of the days following, my heart aches for the horrible violence, chaos and fear you (and yours) were forced to endure. I’m sorry that the traditional way of mourning the loss of someone dear was denied you. My heart goes out to you! May your mother rest in peace. (And may Peace come one day soon and stay.)

    • Thank you for your care and wishes, Spree. Things have gotten a lot better, and I am coming back to myself. I knew that this parting was coming, and I suppose I have to get on with my life. She was a very peaceful person all her life, and for sure, she rests in peace now.

  12. We are by the nature of birth, so closely connected to our mother’s hearts, and even when we are understanding and accepting that it is their time to pass, it is never an easy thing to let go, to know that we will not see that beloved face again in this life, nor touch the hands that cared for us and guided our growing up. Yet surely, as we believe life is eternal, love is also eternal, and a bond that can not be broken by the passing on. My thoughts are with you, and with all the people there who have once again had their lives interrupted by acts of terror. Such as sad way that you will remember this time. I pray that the remainder of your mourning period is a time of peaceful contemplation and appreciation, and I eagerly await stories of your mother and father’s lives. You are right, it is good that things are done in this way. I wish it was so here, in our culture, where death must be pushed aside in a few days to return to “normal” activities when the heart and mind are no way ready to accomodate this.

    • You are quite right, Josie, and thank you very much for your kind words. What I will remember most are the many things I learned from my mother, and the life experiences we went through. The week of mourning was a bit hard, but I am already feeling much better, and I appreciate your understanding and your good wishes. You are very sweet. Thank you.

  13. Dear Shimon,
    I am so sorry for your loss. We are never prepared for this kind of a loss, intellectually perhaps, but not emotionally. And I can only imagine the despair and frustration that the ongoing conflict brings. I wish you peace, my friend, in your heart, and in your land.

    • Thank you very much for your kind wishes, Naomi. Things are already much better. You are right. I was not ready emotionally… but I am very grateful that I only have positive memories of her, and her example will stay with me, in hard times too.

  14. ברוך דיין אמת

  15. Shimon I’m so sorry for your loss and that the shiva was interrupted by the terrible events of last week.

  16. So sorry for your loss, death is a part of life, always harder for the ones left. Peace to your heart Shimon.

    • Thank you Linda, and for your kind wishes. I remember now, how many years ago, when we were witnesses to the grief of a widow we knew, my mother said to me, it’s always easier when the people got along well. In our case, we got along very well, and I do believe that after the long and good life she lead, it is easier.

  17. Shimon…how wonderful your mother must have been and she lived a rich, full life according to your words. My sweet mother lived to 94-1/2 and she prayed that she would just go to sleep and not awaken…which she did. I still miss her so but she lived a very wonderful life. Mothers are very special.

    I pray peace will be yours…

    • Yes, Vasca… mothers are very special, and I’m very happy to hear of the way your mother passed on. We call this, in our culture, ‘the kiss of death’ and it is highly regarded. But it is the ‘wonderful life’ that is best. I have a lot of good memories to console me on the parting, and I couldn’t ask for more. Thank you very much for your comment.

  18. Shimon, words are inadequate at a time like this… I’m so sorry to hear about the death of your beloved mother.

  19. May her memory be blessed. And may we have some peace in Gaza.

  20. I am deeply sorry for your loss and pray that for peace in Gaza. May your mother’s memory forever be a blessing..

  21. So sorry for your loss. You wrote about her beautifully.

  22. I always believed that the Shiva ritual and Shabbat are the indicators of the immense wisdom in the Jewish religion and culture. A time devoted to mourning, recollections, family togetherness and contemplation. It seems that the universe did not afford you the time.
    The photos of her and your father show smiles, laughter, love and joy.
    Ye’he Zich’rah Ba’ruch!

    • Yes, there is a lot of wisdom and a lot of practicality in our culture. I don’t think it’s the only way to go. But it has always satisfied my needs. For me, the mitzvoth taught me a balance that worked even when things went wrong. Just as pikuach nefesh docheh Shabbat, though the shivah didn’t work 100% for me this time, it wasn’t a tragedy… and I’m feeling pretty much myself today. Thank you, Rachel. I do have a lot of joy and love to remember.

  23. Dear Shimonz, you have the power of words to express yourself so profoundly. While I feel sadness of the passing of your mother, I sense the joy of her life. Your pictures captured your and her happiness.

    I also get to see the ‘conflicts’ from your eyes — we see human lives and souls, we see the real world and sufferings.

    Your culture of mourning is very touching and it is similar to traditional Chinese one: introspection, cleansing, following strict rituals. However, in the modern days, to many people, the rituals have changed a lot. A lot of people have thought that some forms are superstitious and tradition and not worth preserving.

    I’ve been to a few funerals in England. I like a commonly used term here, celebration of life.

    • Thank you, Janet. I appreciate your words. I think that one can find such rituals, of how to deal with important changes in life, in many ancient cultures. I feel very lucky that I am able to enjoy so many of the inventions of modern life without abandoning our traditions… and yes, it is wonderful to celebrate a good life.

  24. Pingback: Leonard Cohen: Anthem — Ring the bells | Janet's Notebook

  25. Thank you for sharing these experiences with us, Shimon…your heartbeat…and yes, may she rest in peace.

  26. Sorry to hear about your loss, Shimon.

  27. My new favorite portrait of you … with your mom. I like the pictures of your parents too … very much. I am thinking of you during these sad times.

  28. Sorry to hear of your loss. How wonderful that you had your mother here with you for 101 years…what a blessing.

  29. As your heart and spirit and memories of your mother pass through the time of mourning, may you be left with a smile that lingers in your heart for all the memories you shared together. Regardless of our own religious or spiritual path, any loss can leave us feeling disconnected and adrift. I am sorry to hear that your own week of mourning was marred by the terrors of the world of war infringing on this most precious time for you. Sending prayers for peace. Abundant peace.

    • So good to hear from you, N. You’re right. The memories of my mother just strengthen me, and I do smile remembering some of what we’ve gone through. The timing was a little strange… but I’m already feeling a lot better. Thank you for your prayers, and my best wishes to you too.

  30. yes, may she rest in peace. my mother passed when i was about 20. as i’ve said many times, only one person in my family smoked cigarettes, and only one is dead. she was 45, considered very young. i have a cousin who claims to “talk” to her regularly. while i don’t believe it, i certainly hope it’s true. i know you’ll cherish your memories as i do mine, though mine are far fewer but no less precious. blessings to you and your family.

    • I’m sorry that you lost your mother so early. That is so much harder than my experience. As for your cousin, I believe that people can talk to someone who has passed on. It’s just when they start answering us, that we have to stop and wonder. Thank you very much for your blessings, Rich. And yes, I’ll cherish her memory… and feel that she is accompanying me still.

      • we once sat at a table, all brothers and sisters (my father did not want to participate) with my cousin as she relayed thoughts from my mother. there was nothing we didn’t all know just from our family relationship, and that was disappointing. i wanted to “test” my cousin and ask her something that only my mother and i would know and hear the answer, but i didn’t ask because i was afraid that my cousin would give me a wrong answer and that might embarrass her.

        • I can imagine that very well. I think you’re very sweet not to have embarrassed her. I had a cousin once, who had a similar problem. I did get him talking sometimes… because it amused me… but didn’t press. One has to have patience for the frailties of loved ones… even when they’re not our frailties.

          • I have another relative, a brother-in-law, who sat with the cousin in order to help him speak with his mother, deceased about 10 years. although he won’t speak of the details, he claims that the experience was genuine and enlightening. even if there were just lucky guesses or previously known information, i’m glad he walked away with a very positive experience. little else matters.

  31. Shimon, I am sorry to hear of your loss and also the troubles that are happening around you. I hope that good sense and peace prevail and that your mourning period will heal the hurt of parting.

    • Very good to hear from you again, Marika. And thank you for your understanding and sympathy. Things are getting better, and my memories of my dear mother are a great consolation.

  32. Somehow, even through this most difficult of partings … with war thundering around you, somehow miraculously you manage to preserve and honor love. Between your parents … and between you and your mother. A beautiful sharing which brings a lump to my throat. The parting ritual is beautiful … I had to invent mine for my mother. Each time I buy a flower or a plant, it becomes a small ceremony. She loved flowers.

    A prayer of peace for you and your mother’s spirit.

    • Thank you for your prayer, and for your understanding. My mother loved flowers too… and it took me a long time till I caught up to her in that area of life. But the precious experiences that we have had with our loved ones stay with us. Thank you, Nikki, for your comment.

  33. I am very sorry for your loss. My heart goes out to you and I hope your mum has found peace now.
    It will be a day full of joy for us all when all mankind can live in peace together and religion ceases to be a barrier to divide people. It should be one love to unite us all.
    Long live peace on Earth.

    • I join you in your yearning for peace, Fatima. Yes, it’ll be a great joy when we’ll learn to live in peace together. And meantime, what a joy it is each time, strangers meet in peace, and learn to appreciate one another, and to celebrate what they have in common. Thank you very much for your sweet words. It is always a pleasure to hear from you.

  34. I send my condolences, Shimon.

  35. WordsFallFromMyEyes

    Shimon, I am sorry. 101 years is definitely a good innings. I too would not want to be kept existing artificially.

    What you write here is utterly beautiful. I like the tradition of inner settling. Interesting – not even look in a mirror.

    I am surprised you buried her hours after death. I thought it was done in days, but never really knew why.

    I wish you peace in the 30 days, Shimon. Peace.

    • I agree with you completely Noeleen. She lived a long life, and a good life, and I have a lot of wonderful memories of the times we spent together. Here in Jerusalem, a person is usually buried on the same day he dies. Thank you very much for your good wishes.

  36. Dear Shimon, thank you for writing this post and sharing thoughts. Please accept my sympathies. From the photos, your mother looks like a beautiful, strong, courageous, and happy soul. I wish you to stay safe in what is happening in the country at the moment.

    • I do appreciate your kind words Marina. And yes, your description of my mother is just right. She was also a very stubborn person, which is pretty much the only fault I could point at. But then I inherited that from her, so I try to see some positive sides to that characteristic too. Thank you very much for your good wishes.

  37. Shimon I am so sorry for your lose and having to worry about outside distractions. I pray for peace. And in your 30 days my friend peace. xx

    • How delightful it is to hear from you again, Free. The distractions were painful at the time, but I am already healing, and feeling much better. Thank you, and my best wishes to you too.

  38. Thank you for sharing this most personal time with such a beautiful post. I am sorry for your loss and for the troubles between Israel and Gaza. Prayers for all.

  39. First and most importantly Shimon I am sorry for your loss. And also for the widespread tragedy that surrounded it. I appreciate you sharing this story, and in the depth that is your way. Your tradition, and especially the first week sound beautiful and very right (I’m not sure that “right” is the word I’m looking for).
    What strikes me the most in this post Shimon is your mother’s smile. She looks like a woman who laughter came easily to. “My mother, my teacher…” you have been a fortunate man.

    All the best,
    Chris

    • Yes, my mother’s smile, and her continuous appreciation of life and all that she found in this world, was a source of inspiration for me, and I felt very lucky about that. Because of the painful coincidence of bad times for my country just as I was parting from my mother, it was hard for a while. But things have gotten much better, and I too am feeling better now. I appreciate your words, Chris, and it is a joy for me to have met you, and to be able to share with you.

  40. Shimon, very touching to read about your very special mother. May her memory be a blessing. Photos are beautiful.

  41. Shimon, I was deeply touched by the heartfelt message you left for me concerning love and art. You’re words were a balm to my hurting heart, which is already feeling better. I am so sad to hear of your mother. What you said resonated with me~for myself, I feel I could face death but to lose someone I love, a parent or dear friend, that is so much harder to face. My father is aging quickly now and I know I will miss him sorely. The mourning process you describe is sadly lacking in the American culture. I believe it would be very healing. I am sorry for your loss, and for the continued hostility from Gaza. I pray for peace, and hold you in my thoughts.

    • Glad that what I said was helpful, regarding your incident… It was time for my mother to go. And I knew it and was prepared for it… but sometimes, logic and understanding does not help. Especially when emotions are involved. It is hard to know I’ll never spend any time with her again… but I’ll get used to it. Thank you for your comment, Melissa.

  42. An incredibly thoughtful and moving post Shimon. I am so sorry for your loss. WIshing you and those around you some bright and peaceful days ahead..

    • Things are already better, Cath. It was just a very bad week for me… but as time goes by, I’ll adjust… and as for the situation here in Israel, fortunately, we’re a democracy, and every few years we choose some folks to the job… and hope they’re doing it right.

  43. Terribly sorry for your loss, especially in the difficult circumstances.

  44. Shimon, you have been in my thoughts these last weeks, and now as I read this, you are all the much more so. These photos of you and your parents bring a big smile to my face and warm my heart. You are so generous to share these moments with all of us. I am glad you have so many wonderful memories of your mother to cherish and am happy to know that she had such a good life. May she rest in peace.

    • Thank you very much, Lemony. Yes, there is consolation in the fact that both of my parents lived long lives, and managed to realize many of their dreams and hopes. And time goes on… and we live as we can, trying to make the most of this life. Very kind of you to think of me.

  45. Ah my goodness, how difficult things have been for you recently. My heart goes out to you, your family, and Israel and Gaza. My heart aches. I know this was not your intention, but It is things like this remind me how ungrateful I am for life sometimes. Please take care. I send my prayers and deepest sympathies.

    • I know what you’re talking about. We get into routines… we take things for granted. And often, it’s only when we have to face a really difficult challenge, we understand how beautiful and gracious life is much of the time. Fortunately, my situation has gotten a lot better in a short time since all of this fell on me. But I do appreciate your sympathy, SighYuki. Very good to hear from you.

      • That’s so great that things have got better for you. 🙂 So glad to hear it. 🙂

        Routines are a funny thing, I’m learning. When you like them, a lot more can become taken for granted. When you don’t… well you learn a lot more about yourself, and funnily enough I am starting to appreciate things like weekends and pain-free feet more. When routines are bad, it’s humbling, to say the least.

  46. My thoughts with you too dear Shimon, May she rest in peace. Please take care yourself. Love, nia

    • Thank you so much, Nia. I am beginning to come out of the feelings that engulfed me a week ago. Life has gotten better in many ways. It is always very good to hear from you, Nia. I do appreciate you very much.

  47. My your memories of her continue to provide strength and inspiration to you. I didn’t know about your mourning period customs, but they did cause me to nod with a slight smile. Thanks for sharing your loss with us, …. and wishing peace to your area.

    • Thank you for your good wishes, Frank. And now that the missiles have stopped falling into our cities, I am able to deal better with what is going on in my private life, and am feeling better. May all your wishes come true.

  48. I am sorry for your loss. May she rest in peace.

  49. Thank you for sharing your mother, your love and your loss.

  50. So sorry to hear that your mom has gone, and my mom too, has gone on the first day of Nov.

    For the War, it is a complicated issue, not only to give and to support of the Palestinians, but to have great leaders from both side to love and to forgive. As long as one is in the image of a victor, and one side is been sympathised and given the help by the victor, that will never solve generations of hatred because of blood spilled.

    In anycase, may peace fall upon you, and the people in the region soon.
    kc

  51. I was quite late reading your post this week,Shimon.I am so sorry that the fighting began just after your mother died.I can well imagine how hard you would find it to turn inwards whilst knowing rockets were being fired into your towns and cities.Strangely it’s sometimes more of a shock when the parent is extremely old as my sister in law said in similar circumstances,
    “Well,she’s always been there.”
    I am hoping since the ceasefire you have been able to get the neccessary time and space to allow your feelings..
    Sometimes in life,everything seems to happen at once…..overwhelming one’s defences for a while.But in time we usually get the feelings settled again.With my condolences

    • Thank you very much Kathryn, for your understanding of the situation, and your kind words. Yes, I thought that it would be easy to deal with the loss because I knew that she was ready for it, and thought it best for her. But I discovered there is a great gap between what we understand with logic and reason, and the way it feels in our hearts. And despite the rational approach, it still hurt to part. As you say, since the ceasefire, we have all been getting back to a healthier more beautiful life, and I’ve been able to deal with reality. I do appreciate your comment and your condolences.

  52. My deepest sympathy in the loss of your mother. What a blessing to have lived such a long life filled with love. My heart goes out to all of you living in a war zone where fighting seems to continue year after year. Sometimes we wish our life could be better here in the United States, but we have no idea what it is like to live in the midst of war for a long period of time. Look forward to hearing your parents’ love story in the near future.

    • Very kind of you Bev, to understand both the personal story, and the madness we live with here in the middle east. Though I realized that it was only natural and right for my dear mother to leave this world… it still hurt to part. And unfortunately, though we have lived with Arab hostility towards us for longer than I have been alive… each attack is somehow surprising, and brings a lot of heartache with it. Fortunately, things have calmed down a bit. Thank you very much for your comment.

  53. My dear Shimon,
    I sat here for a long time not sure what to write to you after reading your words about the passing of your mother. I was struck by the enormity of it simply because I had come to know her even if it was just in little ways over this time that I had come to know you. I have seen the way you write often about her. The tender affection and depth of two lives intertwined as only a mother and son can have. I share in your loss for someone I know was a source of inspiration to you. Please accept my deepest condolences. My thoughts have been with you throughout this time of unrest and distress in your country. Please know that. With much love, Sharon

    • Thank you very much for your kindness and sympathy, Sharon. I actually discussed death with my mother on a number of occasions, and since she was ready for it, I thought that it would be easy for me to accept it too. But it turns out that rationality can not always answer the needs of the heart, and the parting filled me with sorrow. Thank you too for your sympathy with my people. We often feel very alone in this world.

  54. Sorry about your loss Shimon. She was truly someone very close to you and I can only imagine how it must be for you this season. You are in a profound sense in our thoughts and especially now.Shalom.

    • Thank you very much, Blazing Trail. I appreciate your thinking about me. When looking at the situation rationally, I realize that I have much to be grateful for… despite the loss of someone who was very close to me… now I’m trying to let rationality placate the emotions…

  55. May she rest in peace Shimon. A parent is special, and as I’m sure you understand, it takes time for our feelings to filter through, to understand them, of what has passed and what is coming in the future.
    I find your traditions fascinating, it seems that different cultures and religions have differing ways of dealing with death, but ultimately they are mechanisms to help us cope. I hope you find some peace too Shimon, I know the world coul ddo with it !!
    a beautifully illustrated post (as ever 🙂 )

    • What you say is just as I have found it… and I agree with you about culture and religion too. I’m taking it easy now, and allowing myself a lot of time and peace to come to terms with the changes in my world. Thank you very much for your comment.

  56. L’Chaim Shimon,

    Your mother’s generation were remarkable in their longevity, not just in Israel, but also here in the UK. I therefore, suppose it to be the case in other countries too. They were great survivors in every sense. They have bequeathed that notion for survival to their children too. Nevertheless, when they depart, when any special individual from any generation departs, they are missed because they have been loved.

    L’chaim and shalom.

    • Thank you Menhir. It was certainly a very special generation… especially for those who lived a long life… they saw the worst and the best of this world in the twentieth century. Not only the infinite cruelty of man towards his fellow man, but also wave upon wave of miracles… Moreover, what you say about missing someone who has died, is true for me. I thought it would be easy for me, because I am a rational person, and it seemed that she had spent her life. It seemed the right time for her to go… but even so, I found the parting difficult. I appreciate your comment.

  57. I feel for you, Shimon … so much … my mumme is still alive, but I grieve her demise already … blessed be, Shimon … blessed be … you and your mumme and your country … so many thoughts racing through my head … wishing to give you a big hug … hopefully you can feel it … Love, cat.

    • My dear Cat, thank you very much for your blessing… and don’t grieve your mum till she goes… enjoy ever minute you can with her. You love and hugs are always accepted joyfully. Wishing you a very beautiful season with a lot of warmth and joy!

  58. Dear, Kind Shimon,
    Something told me to come here and check your site. What devastating news about your mother. I am so sorry, but I know what you mean about her having a good life. I always said my mother got what everyone wants: a long and fruitful life and a quick death. That’s what we all hope for, I suppose.
    I am drawn to this mourning ritual. It is very good. The rituals are the glue that holds us inside our humanness. Even if we cannot fulfill a ritual, it still is there, whispering to us, holding us together inside the human framework, echoing through all we do, begging to be remembered, keeping us.
    And even when we must hasten, there is the ritual bread of haste that holds us together, keeps us human, helps us stay on the target of sanity.
    Another ritual, one I love and do: Pray for the peace of Israel.
    With much love to you, Kind Sir.
    Katharine

    • Thank you for coming by and checking the site. And thank you for your sympathy. I’m beginning to get back to my normal mood now. It was painful, but not devastation. Yes, I am a traditional person, and I have found a lot of usefulness in the traditional way and the rituals. Thank you for your prayers for Israel. That’s exactly what we need… not because we don’t have it… but because we believe in it. Your comment is very much appreciated, Katharine, and I wish you and yours many happy days ahead and good holidays, and sacred moments.

  59. I am sorry for your loss.

  60. Baruch dayan haemet…

    I am just now reading this. You write so eloquently from your heart. I am so sorry for your loss. May you be comforted with the other mourners of Zion and Yerushalayim.

    • Thank you so much for your words of consolation… and in the exact form that we use here. I appreciate it, Cecelia. Things have gotten better since then. I’m beginning to return to myself.

  61. I’m saddend to read of your mumme’s demise, Shimon. Please accept my sincere condolences. I’m also impressed about the way you deal with the grief … so very impressed. Once again, I receive comfort and and peace for my own heart from your writings. I feel so honoured to know about you, Shimon. Thank you,. So much going on in your country as well … sending you love. Always, cat.

  62. I have just checked in to your blog after a while away and seen your post about the loss of your dear mother. Thank you for sharing such a personal time with us and posting those beautiful photographs of your parents. 101 years is a long time, but never long enough for us. I miss my own mother so much and it is nearly 5 years since she died.
    Your posts put across the family-and community-oriented tradition that you live in and I really do get a sense of the closeness that it engenders.
    take care Shimon
    xxx

    • Thank you very much for your kind words, Keggy. I was very fortunate to have had so much time with her, and to see her go in an easy way. It was hard at first, but I have already returned to my normal life. How nice of you to come by and check out what’s happening.

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