Sunday, May 25, 2008

This Post is Depressing

Don't say I didn't warn you.

A friend of mine keeps asking why I haven't blogged for so long. As usual, there are a variety of reasons. One of those reasons is Isaac. It's hard to think of blogging and not writing about something that occupies my thoughts so often. At the same time, I know that there's no way to write about Isaac's death without being self-absorbed (if I write about my own feelings) or trite (if I write about it from any other perspective). And I don't feel like eulogizing Isaac any more, at least right now, as much as he deserves it. There have been so many eulogies.

I don't want to stop blogging forever, though, so here it is: one long, trite, self-absorbed post. After this I'll get back to blogging recipes and destroying Judaism or whatever I usually do.

When I first read this post, I was still in a state of deep mourning. My initial thought was, How can she even compare Isaac's death to the attack on Mercaz HaRav? How can anyone compare it to anything? Nothing will ever be the same now. The world has come to an end!

Of course, it didn't take me long to realize that my line of thought was completely illogical. If the world ended when Isaac was hit by that truck, eight worlds ended when those shots were fired in Jerusalem. Those kids have families and friends who love them, too. They had their whole lives ahead of them.

The fact is, the world ends every day. And yet it doesn't. Two weeks after Isaac's funeral, DH and I went to the wedding of some friends, a couple we've known about as long as we've known Isaac and Margot -- a couple that's just as happy and loving and perfect for each other as Isaac and Margot were. I didn't want to go at first (although I knew I would anyway). I didn't think I could be happy for them. The whole thing just seemed so ridiculous and random and unfair. After two weeks, though, while I was still sad, still thinking about Isaac nearly all the time, I was able to be happy for my other friends, too. There is a time to mourn and a time to dance, as the old wisdom goes. This was a time to dance, and I danced until I was exhausted. Life is too short and uncertain not to be happy at a wedding.

One of the unexpected effects that Isaac's loss has had on me is that it's actually become easier to watch the news. I used to often feel torn when I heard reports of tragedies -- torn between the horror and sadness that I thought I should feel (and sometimes did) and the knowledge that I had to get on with whatever I was doing, and that no one person can or should feel the pain of the world. And of course, there was always the urge to change the channel and watch Law & Order reruns or cartoons. It's different now. I feel like I've internalized the great sadness of it all -- not that I've experienced, God forbid, the loss of a parent or a child or spouse, let alone the whole world I know, just that I understand loss and tragedy in a way that I didn't before. Well enough, if I may say so. I no longer have that notion that I should sympathize with the families of fallen soldiers or the victims of natural disasters and terrorist attacks. I get it. The world has ended again. And I still have to finish making dinner.

Today was Memorial Day, with its strange American custom of honoring the dead with sales and barbecues. (Not that Americans are unique in this respect. Jews commemorate shloshim and yahrzeit with food and try to comfort mourners with endless boxes of rugelach. I guess we still have to eat.) I spent much of this morning doing housework with CNN in the background, and the news stories were punctuated with messages from military families about loved ones they recently lost. It's terribly sad, but after all, it's no one I know. I had laundry to fold, exams to grade.

I know that it will be a long time before Isaac's parents and sister and soulmate are able to "change the channel" and focus on ordinary things, let alone be happy at a wedding. They will probably never be where I am now, generally enjoying life in spite of the sadness. The same is true, of course, for so many whose loved ones have been cut down before their time. But even for them, the sun will keep rising every morning, and life will go on. For whatever it's worth (and I do realize that it isn't much, if anything), my thoughts are with them today, wishing them strength.


JS said...

Thank you for this post.

katrina said...

I never know when it is going to hit me. Someone has been posting pictures of Issac and his soulmate to the Facebook group. That has been hard.

js said...

Sometimes I feel guilty for being happy, but I try to remind myself that Isaac lived his life with great joie de vivre -- and he would want us to do the same. (I don't think that I am being too presumptious in making this assumption.) It will never take away our sorrow, but maybe it can help us to live better.
-js (again)

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