Saturday night

I am very grateful for the shadecloth, draped over the sukkah frame and the skylights, which now cools the house. Even in today's 100 degrees it is comfortable inside.
I sat early this morning on the porch swing, and watched the small birds come to the bird bath to drink, to fluff.

Today was the last shiva gathering for the young woman who left us.
This stage has ended for the family; the next are not yet in sight of the heart.

I would need to re-read these pages in order to map the path my heart has taken in these years since my beloved is gone. I still miss him; and his absence has taken on a presence of its own.

Blessings, blessings as this new week unfolds.
Good night

One of those days

A beautiful day, starting very early with morning minyan.

Lots of errands; a doctor's appointment.
A former student of Zalman, z'l, briefly in town, visited to catch me up on what she is doing now---very interesting, with a very interesting population.
A delightful visit over Indian dinner with an interesting friend from out of town.

Then a visit to the kever---my beloved's grave, amidst grasses and flowers, people running and others walking their dogs, magpies, crows and rabbits. Somehow, today, such a beautiful day, I just sat and cried. I wanted to share the beauty with him. And it was one of those days when I wonder whether I made him happy enough.
Yah, those days still come up now and then: the juxtaposition of beauty and sadness.

I wish us all a good sweet shabbos.

They are still gone...

(the lentils). It is not possible; but there it is.
I have asked the help of St. Anthony, and also of Rebbe Meir Ba'al haNess: nothing doing.
I am reminded of the story of the sheiddim (demons) in the basement, who would work mischief in the house above where they lived.
At least, if it's them, the lentils haven't gone to waste.

The clinic determined to help me keep my brain had prescribed a session with a particular guide at a fitness studio. She is a delight, and we have many things to talk about.
And she woke my body up.
I know this is risky: my heart may waken too. I may plunge back into that place where missing my beloved is almost too painful to bear.
Or I might emerge from the fog in which I have lived these last years.

Or both.
Hmm. Perhaps four years of fog is enough.

Good night.


Journal entry by Eve Ilsen — 16 minutes ago

The memorial for the young woman, whom most of us knew for years, was beautiful and heart-wrenching. The outpouring of love from the community is palpable, present, supporting.
Nothing is enough to heal the pain of such a young death. Not even a member of the family, still my heart hurts.
She herself is surely being cared for in the other world. Her grieving family must slowly heal here, in this imperfect world.
The grave is not far from my beloved's. Her family also chose not to enclose her in a coffin, but to lay her straight on Mother Earth.
It rained gently throughout the funeral.

When the funeral was over, I, along with a number of others, went the few steps more to visit Zalman's grave, z'l. Then we turned to look where we had walked from, the new grave still being filled, and a rainbow filled the sky to the east.
A promise.

Before I left for the memorial and funeral, I had cooked a pot of lentils for the family.
The house is still redolent of the scent.
The lentils themselves have disappeared.
I have searched the car, the garage, the kitchen, the entrance hall. I have looked on the stove and in the refrigerator.
Surely they are somewhere; my nose tells me so.

Please join me in pleading that they reveal themselves before I go to sleep.
Good night.

A day that wandered

The unexpected incursion of Death disorients everything.
Much of this day consisted of prayer---that the soul catapulted so unexpectedly from its body find its right place, be met by benign beings, be turned away from despair.

Family remaining here now bear the pain that had been unbearable for the one who has left us.

And in my own small life, as another day unrolled before me, I was able to give some very small comfort, and some soup. I was able (with help) to unroll the shadecloth that covers the skylights, cooling the house for summer; and to assemble a small-ish exercise machine. I was able to deliver food, and do those small things that compose much of a normal day. I had the fortune this evening to run into friends unexpectedly, meet their grown children and their delightful dog.
Now Mishka has come to join me on this desk, next to the laptop; eyes half-closed, purring.

These apparently insignificant things that make up a normal day are thrown into relief and felt as precious, as valued---these precious ordinary things that make up our ordinary days.
This juxtaposition of intensely felt grief and gratitude is almost unbearable.

I will go up now to the place where I review my days and pray before sleep.
Good night.

Shabbat has been gracious

sitting with friends; an open-hearted shabbos.

----and the new week opens with a shock: the daughter of dear friends is dead.
We are all arranging shifts to sit with her body until the funeral.
I cannot imagine the intensity of pain of parents, family...

Outside, it has been beautiful; and I hear thunder.
It says to me: pay attention. Life can change utterly in the blink of an eye.

I have been down in my beloved's davvenen room to pray.
Now I will go upstairs and do the same.


Thunder the distance. Not close enough to expect rain tonight.

It has been a day of catching up, of visitors from far, of brainstorming with the lawyer about estate planning. Such a puzzlement, trying to imagine into the future, balancing between all the "what-if's", the "wish for's" and the "hope not's". At the same time that I am perusing my house for future safety features, I am renewing my "TSA Pre" for easier flying. I also stopped at the local AAA today to renew my membership, and found on sale one of those scarves that has a zipper pocket for passport, a replacement for the broken little combination lock for my suitcase, etc...Clearly some part of me anticipates travel. But meanwhile, I want all to be in order in case of the unexpected---the family trust, the durable power of attorney, the medical power of attorney. I will both rest and adventure easier knowing that in case of my unexpected demise, the kids will not be burdened with undue stress.

The wind has picked up now; I hear it in the firs and spruces that border the back yard. It might rain, and thunder is breaking not very far away. I love the stormy weather of the summer here, and the unexpected twists of wind. The air, being dry, is not as heavily scented as back East, even after rain.
Compensation: I hear it on the skylights.

I wish us all a sweet shabbos, calming and refreshing.
I wish that all branches of our government refrain from any damaging actions for a few days.
I pray for the reuniting of refugee parents with their stolen and imprisoned children.

And let us say: AMEN

Full day

Thank G-d for Mary, who is helping me unravel the mess resulting from switching banks: all the automatic deposits and deductions must be rearranged, confirmed, etc. Feh.

Otherwise, a sweet day---Farmer's Market, running into friends from out of town staying here in Boulder for a bit.

I remembered, last minute, a shiva minyan in the neighborhood.

I discovered all over again that outside of the very Orthodox community, Americans do not understand the function of a shiva. It devolves into a "normal" social event; the mourner feels constrained to behave as their normal social self, during this very not-normal time.
In some cases, this is truly the state the mourner is in anyway. But in others, the mourner must wait until everybody has finally gone home before letting the social mask drop so they can feel their real feelings.
The guests, for their part, often have no idea how to behave with gravity and sensitivity.

It is not a normal time; for the mourner, the "normal" behaviors can be suspended.

I want to go upstairs now, and flow right into my own evening davvnen, then sleep, then go to early morning minyan.

Good night.