It has been 33 years now, and we are celebrating yet another yarhtzeit. It’s sad, its happy, its life. There is a strange feeling that descends on me each year on yarhtzeit. It is an angst of sorts, though that is not a perfect description. It’s a reflective feeling, but an active feeling.
I am not quite sure. A part of me wants to run around the room like a 4 year old having a full blown tantrum, crying that it is so unfair! I want to pound the floor, and scream at the top of my lungs? Not fair, not fair.
On the other hand, I am not only too old for that, but I have had too much therapy to know that this is narcissistic and self-pity, and for me, certainly at this stage of my life, would be foolish and pointless. In fact, perhaps a bit damaging.
The other part of me that, is at (relative) peace all year long with your being gone, that has accepted that this is what is. That this is Gd’s will. That this has made me grow up. That this has molded me into a better, more compassionate human being, and all these other (true) cliches and platitudes, is just not accepting of that today.
So what am I to do? I can’t have a tantrum, but I am not a peace? I picked a fight with everyone in my immediate area, and that didn’t help distract me. I don’t smoke dope, so that’s off the table. I did mishnayos last night, but that too didn’t settle me. So what am I to do?
I know what I am going to do, and that is to distract myself, with a funeral (that happened to have fallen out today), a shiva house, making a mincha minyan in the Peabodian boondocks, hand out as much matza as people will take and other “acts of goodness and kindness.”
All of these will do me good, and be good deeds, but they won’t and don’t settle that hole deep inside.
I will reach out to my siblings and wish them all a long life, and I will wait impatiently for this day to end, and let what has become my new normal to return to my life.
I will still be upset by the celebrations that you missed. The wife that you never met. The grandchildren you never hugged. The advice you never gave. The shoulder that was not there for crying on. The fact that I didn’t see you kvelling in Atlanta last week at your first grandchild’s wedding.
I will still be frustrated that I have no idea if I was vaccinated against the measles and given a booster, since my immunization records are missing, and my father’s memory doesn’t work for things like this. (I don’t blame him, mine doesn’t either register this kind of info.)
I will still miss you when the normal has returned, and I will go back to relegating your passing to a painful piece of the past that I have figured out how to work within.
But today, for one day a year, I will again, tantrum on the inside, smile on the outside, and behave like an adult even if I feel so so sad on the inside.
I miss you mommy. Happy Yartzeit