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Responding to the Choices We Confront

Rabbi Jonathan Biatch

On the day of her death, we are destined to cry,

On the day of his burial, we are destined to reflect.

 

How many days will pass until I feel normal again,

And will I, after achieving my new normalcy, be able to grow into a new self?

 

Will I forever shun her advice, refusing to see the errors of my way,

Or will I allow her rebukes to correct my bad behaviors?

 

Will I allow the roughness of his tongue to continue to intervene in my own speech?

Or will I bear his presence in mind, and learn to respond in my own, better way?

 

Will I blame her forever for my own shortcomings,

Or will I allow her to lie in peace in my mind?

 

Will I condemn myself for foolishly wanting to call him and tell him of events in my life,

Or will I accept my sadness, and, nonetheless, have that imaginary conversation with him?

 

Will I shut out offers of warmth and shiver in my frigid solitude,

Or will I willingly welcome those who extend their empathy my way?

 

Will I complain about my absent friends who seem to have forgotten me,

Or will I understand one day that few know how to deal truly and effectively with grief?

 

Will I, in loneliness, sink far down into a depression simply to gain attention,

Or will I seek help and work to great lengths to raise me out of my depths?

 

Will my idealism be paralyzed, and my creativity handicapped by fear of future grief and sadness,

Or will I still—as before—gaze in wonder at the future with thoughts of them, and what they had envisioned, for our time together?

 

V’ahavah, v’Zikaron, u’G’vurah – but love, and memory, and strength will help us find courage and optimism to face the future. For how we react to our grief is dependent upon us.

November 16, 2018 8 Kislev 5779