Lessons of Holiness

Here is an article appearing on the Jewish Press website sent to me today. It speaks of the challenge of bereavement, finding our way forward and keeping our loved ones alive in our hearts.

The Lessons of Holiness Even in Death

Every week throughout the year we read a portion of the Torah, the Five Books of Moses, on Saturday, and each of those portions has a name. He discusses briefly the significance of the names of the most recent two portions and how they might relate to what we experience when a loved one dies.

In this article, the author likens the pain of grief after loss to coming into a darkened room full of furniture. Initially, we stumble and bump into the obstacles in the unfamiliar place, but as time goes on, even though the room remains dark, we learn where the couches, tables, chairs and bookcases are. We may never be able to illuminate the room again, and yet we more easily find our way without colliding with the furnishings. The key point is we have to learn to feel the darkness and how to navigate this strange new unlit world. I think it is a process that may take a lifetime of learning.  The catch for me is, that someone keeps rearranging the furniture. I am still tripping over the darn coffee table.

As time slips by, our loved ones drift farther and farther away. We struggle to keep their remembrances fresh, but “The challenge of death is to keep the person who has died alive in spirit.” We each do this in our own way, by writing, myriad forms of artistic expression, creating memorials, planting gardens, talking, sharing stories; this is a very personal process. But it is essential to preserve that vital connection; really, that is all we now have of our lost loved ones, our memories. By keeping those memories vivid and fresh, we insure the people we miss so desperately will live on in the love they shared with us, the effect they had on those of us that remain, and the deep love we have for them. That is something that will never die.



About edcol52

The Infinite Fountain of Love and Loss flows unceasingly into the pool of memory and sorrow. I created this blog in response to the most dreadful tragedy every parent fears, the death of a child, our 24 year old son, Jake. We are now on an unimagined journey along this road of grief and recovery. If you can find some comfort within these pages, than I will have succeeded in some small measure.
This entry was posted in Ceremony, Coping, Grief, Healing, Jake Colman, Jake's Spirit, Memory, Other Media, Print Article and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Lessons of Holiness

  1. allin1life says:

    Hey Ed,

    I just read through your blogs and wanted to share an experience I had just the other morning (Thursday). I’ve had a particularly difficult couple of years which I will, when I find the courage, write about, but suffice to say I have been on a survival mission. I also happened to find myself working in a school that was on a survival mission of it’s own! How wonderful the diversion from my personal life has been – almost my saviour. The last five weeks in particular have been a real ‘run through the mill’ as my school & my role especially have been inspected so thoroughly, no stone unturned.

    I’ll pause now just to clarify that my own troubles are a fleck of dark grey dust when compared with the black mountain of coal (pseudonym: GRIEF) that currently covers your world and I know without doubt, as a mother of three who are ALL collectively the best thing I ever did, that you, very sadly, are living my worst nightmare.

    Back to Thursday. I lay in bed at around 5am, half awake – yes, at 47 and with the menopause fast approaching, my body sometimes only ‘half’ wakes up….and as a lay there I thought:

    ‘I haven’t e-mailed my Mum (at her chosen retirement place in Malindi, Kenya) to tell her all the stuff that’s been happening!!! I haven’t told her about my cancer scare at the start of the year; the Ofsted inspectors saying what a fantastic job we’ve done in turning our ‘failing’ school round; the finance audit that I personally got us through or the wonderful praise heaped on me!!!’

    I gradually woke a little more thinking, ‘Actually, I can’t remember the last e-mail I sent…was it from my gmail account or my bt one?’

    I sat up slowly. I woke up fully. And I remembered that my wonderful, amazing, supportive, caring Mum died. On 10th December 2008.

    At first I felt that familiar sadness that comes with realisation. But then, when I really sat back, closed my eyes and thought of her, my special Mum, I felt an incredible warmth. She is ALWAYS with me. She has seen my struggles and has smiled proudly at my triumphs. And I will always feel honoured to have had her in my life because she gave me strength and confidence and these are what I have needed so desperately to survive.

    I suppose I just wanted to share with you – and it may just bounce off your incredible pain wall right now – that when you lose someone who means the absolute world and beyond to you, there will always be sadness. There will always be a longing to share your life with them and theirs with yours. Yours words show us that you and your wife made this wonderful person and gave him those traits that you and everyone loved. As my Mum lives on in me, Jake lives on in you two.

    Little solace I know, but sharing with us the way you have is incredible and if the warmth we feel for you and Terry was tangible, we might be able to reduce the ‘one step forward, two steps back’ situation to just the one push back.

    Keep writing.

    • edcol52 says:

      Thank you for your insightful and thoughtful comment. Yes, there are those moments, that first instant immediately upon waking where I wonder if this has all been part of some surreal dream. An then, I realize that I am living this surreal dream. Those memories of Jake bring delight and sorrow at the same time. There is a Portuguese word for this, Saudede. My life is filled with this now, the sweet with the bitter. One of the unsuspected bright specks in this mountain of coal is the encouragement and compassion received from people the world over, like you, because of this blog. Thank you also for your warmth and good wishes. One step, then another, either forward or back, at least we are still walking.

  2. Melissa says:

    Excellent. The furniture analogy hits home for me. Someone keeps moving stuff here also. May the day come for both of us that it settles in one place.

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