Thursday, March 11, 2010

Mourning in Stages

I don't think I'd be able to write this now, even if I tried. I found some scraps of paper, which I wrote during Shnat Avel, and put them all together.

And sorry about this sad streak of posts. Someone asked me for an essay about mourning, by special request.

The Day
He dies. Death. You think it's the worst thing that can possibly be, the end, to everything.
It's not real. It's a dream, a nightmare. You're sure you'll wake up soon. You are numb.

The Week
Slowly you feel again. You thought mourning was sadness, you weren't expecting the pain. You feel pain, you live pain. All of your being is pain. There is no escape. You can't shut it out, you can't let it out. You don't cry, because if you start to cry, you'll never stop. No rainfall of tears will ever be enough.

The Month
It hurts to see the sun shine, to hear people laugh at a joke. All you can manage is a wan smile. Everything seems unimportant, trivial. Daily life pales beside the finality of death. But you go on, because you have to.
Then there comes a moment, when you- forget. For one millisecond of eternity- you listen, you smile, or you simply close your eyes and breath. Peace between the pain.

The Year
Life draws you back. You have to continue, to live. You want to curl up in a tight ball and shut out the world. Instead, you take every drop of strength you possess, and use it to carry on.
Somehow it becomes easier. A whole day can go by before you remember.
You are happy sometimes. You see it's still possible. You care again- about classes and clothes. You learn the world again; a different, sharper, clearer world.
And that's it. You live, you learn. You soak up the sun and feel at peace. And he'd dead, gone forever.

The Year After
You're back again, back in the world. There is no label for you, anymore. You're not a mourner, you've finished with that. It's back to normal now.
You know, though, that there will always be a part of you that's hurting. You can never be a hundred percent happy again. There will always be that little corner of sadness, of pain. But that's OK. You can live with that. There is no perfect happiness, in this world. Perhaps we need death, to appreciate life. The same way we need darkness to see light.

Five Years Later
Loss does get easier, when time goes by. Weeks pass, without you looking at his picture by your bed, without you speaking of him.
Another part of you gets sadder. It's been longer without him. You miss him.

But you realize the pain has gone. You don't hurt, any longer. You've healed.


  1. And the last step.

    The moment before (and/or perhaps after) your own death

    You rejoice over the possibility of being reunited with all your loved ones that have passed before you.

  2. This is something special.

  3. Poignant

    I lost my son almost 2 years ago and I think it's very similar for children, only the stages last longer. I often feel like there's a hole somewhere inside me--when he first died, the hole was always right there and I couldn't do anything without having to try to get around it. Now, the hole is still there but it's just become a fact of life and it's no longer in the forefront of my mind as I've gotten used to working around it.

  4. Thank you for sharing this with us...