Mourning: A Tale of Two Mourners
Mourning is a way to express grief or sorrow. It is a way to express the heartache that comes with the death of a loved one, to remember the positives, the good things that the loved one has done and the attributes, the deeds, that made the person who he or she was. It is the anticipation of being without the person that meant so much to the individual or persons left behind. Grieving for a loved one, a family member, an essential person in our lives, makes the loss extremely sad. A deep crevice is left in the life of the significant other when he or she departs this “mortal coil.” It is most difficult to be the mourner of a close family member such as a mother, father, or a beloved sister or brother.
parents are irreplaceable. We think
of them as the people we could always come to in good times or bad. They would never reject us, would listen to our Tzores
(worries), our concerns; they would offer help whenever possible, would give of
themselves, and would make things better. They
would give us a hug, the strength to accept whatever ailed us, good or bad.
They were our strength, the people who had given unconditional love when
we were young, the people who taught us the basics of living and loving.
When mother dies we will think
of the wisdom she had, the food that she was always ready to offer, the warm
feelings that surrounded her countenance. When
father leaves this earth we have lost our guide, our
strength, his wisdom, his
courage, and much more. When we
lose our mate (especially in an almost lifetime marriage) we are devastated. Our memories are boundless.
If it is a husband, we remember the love that we shared, and the
closeness, both mental and physical; we had become one in body and spirit.
If we needed advice he was there,
if we felt sad or happy we shared our emotions and felt reciprocated.
We waited for him to come home to be with us. We had created and shared our children. We could share good and not so good feelings about them and
we would understand one another without criticism. We understood the person we had chosen and it was
reciprocated. In mourning, we know that the spouse is irreplaceable in the life
of the smitten one. The same is
true of the husband of many years who loses his wife.
He knew he could always count on her in good times and in bad.
He knew she was waiting for him when he came home.
She would cook for him, encourage him, love him.
In old age she still believed he was the best looking and brightest man
alive and much more. He knew that
she would be there for him in good times and in bad.
When children were critical he was there to comfort and express his love.
She is irreplaceable and his sadness comes from the loss that will never
are different ways of expressions
of mourning that will here be described. A woman lost her husband of forty-six
years. She adored him during his
life and was devastated at his death. They both worked hard at their respective
professions, had been the parents of two children and several grandchildren, and
took great pride and were helpful to each other and their offspring.
The man died shortly after his illness was discovered.
Jonathan (fictitious name) was the love of her life.
She adored him. There was
never a word of complaint about him which she expressed outside of their
marriage. She did all that she had
to do amidst tears to make it less painful for their children.
She mustered her strength to eulogize him standing in front of the
congregation. She made things
better for her surroundings. Her
love, her kindness, and her light shone through all those who shared their love
and respect for her lifelong partner. Because
of her kindness, her sincerity, and her warmth, the responses and love that she
received from friends and acquaintances were overwhelming, and she will never be
totally abandoned by all those with whom she comes in contact.
lost her brother after a brief illness. The
two were close in age. She was a
bright professional woman who took good care of her widowed mother with whom she
lived. Rosa had never been close to
her only sibling. They saw each
other a few times a year. She was
invited to participate in some family gatherings when her niece and nephews were
involved. The brother Norbert and
his wife Julia were distant. There
was little love between the sister in law and Rosa. Norbert and wife would take lengthy absences to be in the
warmer climes and sister was not invited. When
she did on rare occasion travel somewhere with them, they did not consider her
needs and she felt like an unwanted outsider and had the wisdom to refuse any
automobile trips with them. When he
died, she became sad but also very angry. She
was excluded in assisting in the funeral arrangements, which she wanted to
participate in. She did not want
him cremated, which did happen; she was directed to contact a particular florist
(which she rightfully did not do). Briefly speaking, she was omitted.
After his death, her feelings were angry ones.
She really mourned the brother she wishes she had.
Her anger was projected onto a good friend who felt very close to Rosa
and who seemed to understand her. Rosa
mourned for the closeness that her brother could not feel or express.
of all faiths mourn differently. Mourning
is a personal expression, sadness and grief for a loss that can never be
replaced. Our Jewish faith helps us
to mourn when we are surrounded by those who can feel with us, pray with us, sit
shive (a week of mourning usually in the home of the mourner) with us and can
identify with us.