Tuesday, October 2, 2012

The end of kaddish is near

One more week of kaddish to go. I've got mixed feelings. True, saying kaddish these days hasn't the same emotional power it had in the first few months after my mother died. I can't remember the last time my eyes teared saying kaddish. Now, to the extent any feelings arise when I say kaddish, I feel a general sense of loss and sadness. Still, I'm attached to my kaddishes. They're so much part of my daily routine. It's difficult to contemplate a life without them.

But, on the other hand, I can't wait to be done with the whole business! To be able to go to concerts, wear new clothing, go out whenever I want and not have to worry about minyan, wake up late on a Sunday, not have to rush to shul in time for kaddish.

I think that's one of the ideas of saying kaddish. Your parent's death is emotionally devastating. You need to create a routine that draws you out of your private grief into the broader community. You need the structure and time to feel and experience the pain. But eventually you begin to chafe at the restrictions. You're ready to have your life back.

It's like the story of the shtetl peasant who complained to the rabbi his house was too small. The rabbi told him to bring all his farm animals into his home. He could barely move. Then the rabbi told him to remove them. He had so much more room he stopped complaining about space. I'm ready to remove the animals and see what it feels like to resume what will pass for a normal life without my mother.

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