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.
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.