Wound still open. Broken heart still exposed. Healing slowly, which is as fast as it can go considering the great loss it has experienced.
That is what today was like.
A Jewish tradition…the big monument-over-the-grave reveal that takes place a year or so after a death. In the case of my mom, it’s the “or so” part of the year.
It’s one of those traditions that, in my opinion, suck. It’s like having another funeral for the same person. A year later. The anniversary of a death, something not really worth a celebration.
We stood, family and friends, in front of the lovely, newly erected gravestone. No rabbi, no sobbing; quite different than the atomosphere of the actual funeral but still horrible and stoic, nonetheless.
The stone itself, carefully chosen, trying to reflect my mothers personality. Sky-blue-pink, her favorite color which, we got a stone as closely resembling that color as possible. Seeing as, it’s not even in a Crayola box.
Words, written in Deco script, her favorite era, stating simply “one of a kind”. Which, she was. There was no one like her. She was TRULY one of a kind. Everyone agreed.
The small, closeset to her party left the cemetary after kind words were said and hugs and kisses were exchanged, and headed over to my parents house where sweets and coffee were waiting. Sweet after salty.
I don’t want to carry on this religious tradition. It’s cruel and unnecessary. My kids should not have to mourn my death, so close to when they are getting used to my being gone.
That’s what we did today.
A year later, I can make a short car drive without reaching for my cell, heart lurching, phone call on the tip of my finger.
A year later, I can say her name, think a thought, without breaking into uncontrollable sobs.
A year later, I can talk to her in my head and not cry out loud.
A year later, my heart doesn’t sink as deep for as long.
Good days finally outweighing bad.
The good word should be passed on, announcing the arrival of the headstone and please, feel free to go and leave a pebble on it, announcing the visit to others. Another tradition; marking our visit with a pebble, a penny, something to say someone was thinking of the beloved.
But today shouldn’t be a tradition. In any religion. In any family.
Let the grievers move on.
Despite my moms somewhat narcissistic love of attention, I’m pretty sure she would have not been happy knowing the pain this day brought to her daughters, friends and other family members.
But tradition prevailed.
Salt flowed freely.
The ache of the loss, just short of fresh again.
Knowing we won’t have to do this again is the one thing that makes it a little better. I won’t have to dread another day like this, all year long.
I’ll visit my mom in my mind, just like I’ve been doing the past 13 months. She’s with me, not under that pink begonia, sky-blue-pink, deco marker grassy patch. That’s just a peaceful place to see her name, surrounded by other places to see other names on marble slabs with stones sitting atop.
It’s peaceful, yes. It’s a place for the living to go, sit, stare and talk to stone.
But they, our lost loved ones, aren’t there…
They are everywhere else, filling up the space, our hearts and minds.
I will not allow this tradition to continue with me.
Life pours far too much salt in wounds as it is.