Holidays

Grief and the holiday season (2020 edition)

Due to the fact that I’m a Jew, and I am still coping with grief, I have an incredibly complicated relationship with this time of year. Last year, the holiday season was horrible. I was bombarded with Christmas greetings and music and messages and, more than once, I ended up in a puddle of tears because of the memories of my childhood and the people – my brother, my father, my paternal grandparents, my mother-in-law – that have all died in the past four years. Add to that that I literally had a Salvation Army bell ringer yell at me because I didn’t wish her a “Merry Christmas” back, and I simply couldn’t handled it. I made a vow that in 2020, I would not be subjected to the onslaught of Christmas cheer and memories that were too painful to enjoy. For months now, I’ve been making plans to ensure that I didn’t have to get anywhere near a store between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day.

The thing I hadn’t planned on, though, was that in a year, I would change. I would heal. I would feel better.

Continue reading “Grief and the holiday season (2020 edition)”
Holidays · RVing

Leaking roofs, leaking eyes, and Christmas annoyances

We discovered a minor leak inside the Winnebago the day after Thanksgiving. It’s in the spot where the coach and the cab meet and it’s midway down in a corner area. Since we’ve only owned it for a month, even though it’s 12 years old, I was fairly dramatic about it. (“I can’t believe she’s leaking! I hope it’s okay! What if they can’t fix it? What if we’re left with nothing but a pile of rust and mold? Did we buy a lemon?!”) Continue reading “Leaking roofs, leaking eyes, and Christmas annoyances”

Family · Judaism

Waiting

My dad believed in visitors from the afterlife. He was also a man of stories, and one of his frequent stories was a memory from when his younger brother, John, died as a teenager in the early 70s. The story goes like this: John was in his hospital bed, comatose in the very last minutes of life. My dad had rushed to his bedside from several hours north, barely making it in time. Right before John succumbed to cancer and died, my dad looked up and saw, floating near the ceiling in the corner of that hospital room,  ethereal versions of his grandmother, grandfather, and an aunt. Dad said it was as if they were there to greet John’s spirit on the other side. Continue reading “Waiting”

Holidays · Judaism

It’s hard to say goodbye to the High Holy Days

I love the Jewish High Holy Days. While we have a lot of holidays on the calendar, I’ve been practicing Judaism long enough to know that Yom Kippur is my favorite holiday. Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish new year, is joyful and celebratory, and Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, is serious, somber, and breathtakingly powerful. This year was especially poignant because I attended the Yizkor service, which honors those who have died during the previous year and comforts those who are mourning.

Yom Kippur is about ensuring that we have righted our wrongs so that our names are inscribed in the Book of Life for another year.  Continue reading “It’s hard to say goodbye to the High Holy Days”

About me

1 year

It’s been a year, Kyle, since I kissed you on the head for the last time and watched as you drifted into a peaceful death.  I know that you’re finally free from pain but a year later, I’m definitely not.  Our family isn’t the same without you, buddy, and I’d give anything to have you back.  I know I can’t, though, so I have to deal with the pain and trudge on.  You were the most wonderful companion and I hope I did right by you.  I hope you knew I loved you right until your very last breath.  I’m sorry I didn’t know how sick you were sooner.  A year later, I realize that I was in denial.  I refused to accept that my Kyle, my baby boy, my shadow for the past 13 years wasn’t doing well.  In the end, I know that we couldn’t have stopped the cancer and that it was your time to leave me but it doesn’t make the hurting any less acute.  I’ve shed many tears, and I’ll shed many more in the years to come because you’re gone.

21Dec (44)

05Jan (9)

Kyle vs toy 008

Kyle1