I often think I am special (ok ok ok, “NO SHIT,” says the Greek chorus).
But this weekend was a reality check for the things that humans share — love and loss (and, a little gossip, but for another blog).
On Friday night, in synagogue, I was feeling pretty sorry for myself. My mom is dead and her name would be read among the so many dead. Nothing special. But Mom is special.
And then SOB pointed out that Anne, who lost her mother one year ago, was there. That wound is so fresh. And her mom was special (indeed, she was an incredible person).
I discommoded some random individual as I made my way to Anne’s pew. I reintroduced myself and we embraced. I beckoned SOB, who didn’t want to start a commotion (tish, tosh) and pulled up the velvet rope to let her in through the main aisle of the sanctuary. The usher glared at me. I motioned “as if I care!”
SIDEBAR: I later apologized to the usher and explained that we had all lost our mothers and this was their Yahrzeits. She asked the names of our mothers and when I told her, she said, “I would break any rule for them.” I decided I loved this usher like family.
It was perfect timing. It was time to sing Sholom Aleichem, which involves joining hands and swaying in the Kumbaya sort of way. I am glad that Anne and SOB were together in that moment.
SOB’s tears were more than I could handle during the service. I think SOB was crying for many things, especially that Mom was not there to comfort her in the scariest moments of her life. I did not cry during the service; I cried before. My eyes were on Dad and SOB. Dad was happy for the company and the service.
SOB has a gentle spirit. She wishes Mom were here; I am unforgiving. I am mad at Mom for not being here, when her children are facing problems that no one can kiss away.
But, as the evening went on, I was humbled so many times.
First, the Yahrzeit list was filled with friends of Mom and Dad. Sam Brodsky was also on the list.
Second, Mickie and Carolyn were there because Mickie lost his sister.
SIDEBAR: Mom, I refer to Mickie and Carolyn by their first names ONLY for anonymity, so Mom, please don’t send a lightning bolt down because I did not call them Mr. and Mrs. B—–. I swear I was polite when talking to them. Just like you taught us.
Third, when we got home, Mimi called because it was Mom’s Yahrzeit and her husband Danny’s first Yahrzeit. I had to prep Dad for the phone call so he would say the right things.
People remembered Mom; SOB and I were happy to hear them talk about her. But there are so many others to remember, so many people whom we loved and so many we never knew.
And my pain and loss continue to feel acute and extraordinary, but — forgive the oxymoron — it is not different from the pain and loss that others feel.
Yes, I have learned that. Finally, after all of these years.