This week represents two months since my mother’s death. As slowly as those sad days in May passed, the time since then has flown by. I suppose that is to be expected once one resumes a normal routine. What has surprised me, though, is how difficult it has been to integrate into my day to day approach to the ups and downs of normal life those acutely sharp lessons which I learned in May.
Her final illness, (see, Sad But Inspiring), the days in the ICU, her passing Friday night after the lighting of the Shabbos candles one last time, and the shiva experience provided me a rather clear vision of what is, (or should be) truly important in life, death and thereafter. While as an intellectual matter I “get it”, my emotional integration of those lessons remains an ever present challenge.
Take for example this week. Various events have caused my work related stress to increase quite a bit. Truth be told if I were to look at any or all of them through the prism of the grand scheme of life none would matter very much. They are relevant and of such concern to me only because of the here and now. And when I reflect back on the recent past I ask, “Why all the stress if in the big picture they are of fleeting importance?” The answer lies in the difficulty of translating these lessons into one’s being.
Perhaps saying kaddish over an eleven month period will have the added benefit of “forcing” me to reflect on this issue often and thus to address it.