Archives for category: loss

hands heart

“To be fully seen by somebody, then, and be loved anyhow–this is a human offering that can border on miraculous.”
– Elizabeth Gilbert

Today would’ve been my parents 52nd wedding anniversary. Just a couple of months before their 50th anniversary my father took his own life. My mother went to bed not knowing that in the morning, she would wake up a widow.

They met as teenagers in Brooklyn. Theirs was not a perfect love story, those exist only in fairytales. Instead, it was one of substance, friendship, mutual respect and admiration. They loved one another through the best of times and the worst of times. They accepted one another’s flaws, shortcomings and imperfections. They nurtured one another’s strengths, dreams and spirits. They laughed and they cried. They celebrated and they fought. They let each other down, then picked each other up. Life is messy, so is love, but through it all they held fast to one another.

This much I always knew growing up in my house, my parents loved one another. Not everybody gets that in this life.

They built a family on the foundation of their love. Their children and grandchildren are their enduring legacy. And today, as I think about my parents, my heart aches that love was not enough to save my father. But death cannot diminish the love that they shared and the life that they fostered. That is where my father’s spirit lives on. That is the flame that can never be extinguished.

And on a day where my mother is missing her husband & best friend, I pray that flame will warm her soul and help to heal her broken heart. We all miss you Dad. You were surrounded by the deepest of love. It is my fervent wish that you knew that, even when the darkness consumed you. And though you are now gone… your love story is without end.  

dad mom sweet 16

My father and my mother at her Sweet 16. His enduring words to her. 

 

 

Dear Dad,

Yael is graduating High School today. I wish you were here to see it. You missed so much Dad. There were so many celebrations yet to be, so many milestones to mark.

She is wearing your bracelet along with her cap and gown. A piece of you will be with her.

I know your’re looking down with pride. But I wish you could have stayed.

She does too.

But today and every day, we carry you in our hearts.

dad and yael

April 1 does not herald in a day of jokes, trickery and laughs for me.

Instead it feels like a kick in the gut. The fight or flight mode that seeped in during the month of March, is now in full swing. I don’t sleep well. I feel anxious. My emotions feel like a daily roller coaster ride over which I have little control. It takes almost nothing to make me cry, or to push me over the edge. Raw. That is how I feel. I am remembering the days leading up to his death and regret is so present I can taste it. In twenty days it will be two years since my father’s suicide. In twenty days I will begin putting the word years around his death, instead of months.

Sometimes all I want is to go up into the mountains and scream. I want to scream at the top of my lungs. I want to scream out the pain, the trauma, the regret, the anger, the feeling of abandonment, the sadness and the missing. I want to scream at my father, I want to scream at God. I want to let all of my hurt out in the most primal way that I know how. I want to scream until I can’t make another sound. I want to give all of the grief a place to go outside of myself.

But I don’t.

Because sometimes I am afraid that if I start screaming, I may never stop. The wellspring of trauma, sorrow and loss feels, at times, as if it is without end. And so I try to contain the feelings. It’s not that I don’t express or address them, I do. I write, I talk, I go to therapy. I do all of the work so that I can continue the journey forward and find some healing. But I do it in a way that feels controlled.

And there has been progress. There has been healing. And I am so grateful for that.

But there is a wound in my soul that is hard to give voice to. And I am not sure it will ever fully heal. Words seem inadequate. Other survivors know it. They’ve shared their wounds with me. It is a deep and intimate sense of knowing, that despite being strangers in every other way, binds us together. Because only we truly understand what it feels like.

I want to scream out, but I don’t know what I want to say. I want to tap into that endless wellspring of pain that I have lived with for two years now, and like a dam that overflows, I want to let it all out. I want to rage and cry, stomp my feet, pound my fists until every ounce of me is free from what I carry.

But in truth, I know I will never truly be free of it. I’ll learn to carry it. It will ease into a dull ache. It will scab. And every now and again life will pour salt into that wound and reawaken the pain, as it did today when the month of April began.

I am sad. I miss my Dad.

Twenty days until the months become years. I want to scream out all of the sorrow and trauma; like a cleansing of the spirit. I want to scream until I am out of breath, I want to scream to reveal to those around me all that I still hold inside. I want them to know.  I want them to see. I want my screams to shake the foundation so very hard that all of the walls I erect come crashing down. It will make me vulnerable yes, but will it strengthen me as well?

And yet, I am afraid to expose my wounds. How do I allow others to bear witness to every unnerving truth? I am afraid that they won’t, they can’t understand how my father’s death haunts me, how it has altered me.

So instead, quietly, when others are not around, I scream silently into the void. And I pray that the internal tsunami will slowly subside into a wave and then a ripple. And that a whisper in the wind, will still help me to heal all that I still carry within.

mask

My father wore a mask in his final weeks on earth. He let us see much of his pain & torment. Depression & anxiety took hold and tag teamed him in every manner of cruelty. But he compartmentalized and he did not reveal to us the truest and deepest depths of his suffering. We all got pieces of the puzzle but in the end, without the full truth we could not/did not put it together.

He saw his illness of the mind as a personal fault and his inability to simply will himself out of the darkness, a failure. I don’t know, I’ll never know what was that final straw, the moment that his descension into the darkness led him to believe that death was the only way to end his pain. That part of the puzzle will always remain incomplete. Believe me when I say, the question of “why” haunts me, though not with the same fervor it did in the earliest days/weeks/months of his suicide. I believe that unanswerable question and the regret of all I didn’t know or see, will reside within me forever, but the edges have and will soften over time.

Still, I wish he had taken off the mask. I wish he had revealed all of his truth, including those about ending his own life. If he had given me his full truth I would’ve held him and all that he felt with love, compassion and hope enough for the both of us. I would’ve reminded him again that he was still deeply loved even in his most broken state, feeling vulnerable & lost. I would’ve helped him to find every tool that he needed to fight back against his illness. I would have liked the chance to help him to live, to heal and to find hope once again. I could not and didn’t promise that it would be easy. I never offered empty promises. I knew better. I loved him with all I had, and listened with an open heart.

I was only a few weeks away from visiting him & my mom. And he kept telling me how much he was looking forward to my coming, to time together to talk, really talk and simply be with one another. And I wanted to just hug him with every ounce of strength I had, to meet his pain head on, not across the telephone line. But that never happened. I never got that time, that hug, that chance…


My father wore a mask. We all do. But when that mask hides the parts of us that most need to be shared, exposed, honored and loved… the light within us begins to dim. And if we hide the truth of deep suffering, the darkness can envelop us.


I can only pray that in sharing my truth, I’ve allowed others to feel safe taking off their masks, sharing their illness of the mind and seeking help for their pain & struggles. I can only hope that my words chip away ever so slowly at the added burden of shame & stigma that compound their hurting souls & cause them to hold ever tighter to those masks.


If I can do that, I bring meaning to his death and to my sorrow. Because my father had an illness, no less true than a physical diagnosis. But it didn’t have to be fatal. If only he’d taken off the mask, he might still be here today.

calendar-photo-845x321

When we lived in Atlanta, I kept a giant calendar on the side of our refrigerator. Having three kids in three schools, plus after school activities and my husband’s busy rabbi schedule to juggle, that calendar  helped me to organize life for myself & my family. Yes, in these days of smart phones and technology, I preferred to have life laid out in black and white, on paper. I still do.

My father died on April 20, 2015. And while so much of life felt like a blur in the aftermath of his suicide, the details of that day are etched into my mind with painful & perfect clarity.

When the end of that month came, I took the April calendar down, but I couldn’t throw it away.  That was the last month that my father was alive. It was the last month that I would hear his voice, or tell him that I loved him and hear him say it in return.

And that piece of paper so starkly reflected the truth of my life. Every day leading up to April 20, 2015 was my before. And every day that followed, my after.

That is what it is to lose someone to suicide. You mark your very existence as a survivor in before & after. Because to survive a suicide loss is to be forever altered in ways that at times simply defy words.

The other day I was cleaning out some papers and I came across the calendar once again. My response, almost two years later, was still the same. I can’t throw it away. Some part of me simply can’t give up this piece of paper, filled as it is with the mundane routine of our daily lives as a family.

On the day my father died, my middle daughter was scheduled to have her braces taken off. My friend Karen so graciously picked her up at school and took her to the orthodontist, feigning a story about why I couldn’t get her myself. I recall vividly the picture Karen sent of Leora’s beautiful brace free smile at the end of that appointment. And I remember the pain I felt at knowing that the news of my father’s suicide, would wipe that smile away in an instant. And yet, there it is in black & white, what was supposed to be a far more ordinary afternoon, with an appointment scheduled at 2:00. And written underneath it are notes about carpool and a final class at Religious School. It was supposed to be an ordinary day, that became anything but.

I look at all of the things written on that April calendar that fell after the 20th, and I can’t even remember who took care of what. Who cancelled the appointments before we went to New York for the funeral? The house was due for the final inspection. Who made sure it was tidied up before we left? Who drove carpool? It is all a blur.

There was life before my father’s suicide. And there is life after. And why I can’t throw out that one piece of paper, I don’t know. Except maybe that it is the most concrete reflection of the day my life changed forever.

Time has passed. There has been much heartache, but also a great deal of healing. I try not to dwell in memories of the before. But I hold fast to one torn page from the calendar that reminds me of time I still shared with my father. He lived for 19 days in April 2015. And a single piece of paper is the evidence I cleave to. How could I possibly throw that away?

Time is the longest distance between two places. (Tennessee Williams)

 

dancing with dad at my bat mitzvah

Dancing with my dad at my Bat Mitzvah party

“Tell me something about your dad”, my heart whispered this morning. “Tell me something about his life, a sweet memory, and let it not be tainted by his suicide.”

And my mind answered,”But those moments are hard to find. It seems whenever I try to revisit those memories, his suicide, the way his life ended, inevitably comes crashing in.”

“Try anyway”, my heart answered back. “Do not let his death be all that defines him.”

Eyes closed

A deep breath.

Clearing away the pain.

Making room for something sweeter.

He loved to dance!

I mean, my father LOVED to dance. When I was younger, he and my mom would get dressed up in their disco gear and hit the dance floor on Saturday nights. I remember thinking that I had such cool parents. My mom in her spandex top & leather pants and my dad, looking so suave with his shirt unbuttoned, heading out to Uncle Sam’s disco. Date night was dance night for them.

mom and dad club night

My parents ready to hit the dance floor

But my dad didn’t have to wait for a club or an event to get his groove on. Our living room had a full wall of mirrors. And as part of my dad’s exercise routine, he would pop in an 8 track tape, put on his castanets and shirtless, with just his shorts on, he would dance. I can remember Peaches & Herb blaring through the stereo speakers singing, “Shake your groove thing, shake your groove thing yeah yeah. Show ’em how we do it y’all.” And without a partner, but with total & complete abandon, my father would just dance until he was dripping in sweat.

dad disco days

This is how I remember my dad dancing around the living room.

I don’t know if my father was ever more free, than when he was dancing. He didn’t hold back. The music enveloped him and he just radiated joy. For him, it was clear that dancing was a celebration of life, and on the dance floor, he gave it everything he had.

And he was happy. I can remember him happy. I can remember him free.

And my mind whispered to me, “Hold that memory today. Grasp it tight and don’t let go.”

And my heart whispered to me, “There is room for both the sorrow & the joy. Cleave to the joy today.”

My father loved to dance.

He knew joy. He knew celebration. He could and he did dance like no one was watching.

Today, with everything I’ve got, I hold fast to that memory of my dad.

My father loved to dance. And remembering that, makes me smile.

Let show the world we can dance
Bad enough to strut our stuff
The music gives us a chance
We do more out on the floor

Groovin’ loose or heart to heart
We put in motion every single part
Funky sounds wall to wall
We’re bumpin’ booties, havin’ us a ball, y’all

(Peaches & Herb Shake Your Groove Thing)

 

covered-mirror

I haven’t written in a while. I’ve been working to be as fully present in the here & now as possible. It was a conscious choice to tuck the grief, the loss, the trauma of my dad’s suicide neatly into my back pocket.  I needed to turn away from it, at least for a while.

In Judaism, when you are in the period of shiva, the 7 days following the burial of a loved one, it is customary to cover all of the mirrors in your home.  In the immediate days of grief, we are not supposed to focus on our external selves. Rather, we turn inward, we reflect, we dwell not on the details of our appearance, but on the memories and the life of the one we have lost.

I didn’t observe that tradition while sitting shiva for my father. As a Reform Jew, it didn’t resonate for me. But there was another reason, a deeper one. In the moment that I learned of my father’s suicide, the person that I was shattered into a million pieces. The fragments lay seemingly sprawled in every corner. And how to even begin gathering them up seemed far too overwhelming a task. In the days that followed, I vacillated between feeling totally numb and sobbing uncontrollably. I lashed out in anger one moment, and then sadness swept in and overwhelmed me the next. There was no peace, no comfort, there was only a pain beyond words. I wandered through my home and my days feeling like a stranger in a strange land.

Looking in the mirror was the only way to find some sense of the familiar. Even with swollen eyes, I found tangible evidence that while my inside felt broken beyond repair, some small sense of wholeness still existed. I gazed into the mirror and saw that I was still me… forever altered, but still me.

I will tell you a truth. Almost 23 months later, I still feel broken. Yes, I have gathered up those fragments, and put myself together anew.  But I often feel that if one were to look at me too closely, they would be able to see every fissure & every scar that I must now carry. Sometimes I avoid my own reflection, when it seems to contradict what I am feeling inside. It feels like a cruel mind game, looking whole yet feeling fractured.

I tucked my loss away for a while. I laughed more, I found myself able to be more present for my children, my husband and myself. I read for pleasure, I made jewelry, I spent time with friends, I created in the kitchen and yes, I even needed time to heal from some physical challenges as well.

And I haven’t thought much about my dad. Not because I don’t want to remember him, I do. But reflecting on my dad in life, seems to inevitably bring me to the way he died. That horrible, violent, darkness looms at the end of his story and it permeates each and every other chapter that I try to visit. So, like the mirror in a house of mourning, I draped those reflections off. I averted my gaze with intention. Because that felt a necessary part of my healing.

Today begins the month of March. And looming ever so closely behind is the month of April. My mind has begun to go back to that place, of reliving his final weeks on this earth. I feel my body re-entering that fight or flight mode, the muscle memory of trauma. Creeping back into my psyche are all of the missed signs & the missed opportunities to try and save my father from himself. My rational mind knows there is nothing to be gained by that. But my soul still clamors for a different ending. My eyes still seek the hindsight of a more apparent truth, every fiber of my being yearns for another chance to know then, what I know now.

And so it seems, I must take the covering off of the mirror. Not so I can focus on the external, but so I can reflect. I can’t continuously wall off the pain, there is not a wall strong enough to contain it forever. My soul is crying out to me, to feel the pain, the sorrow, the trauma and the loss & to tend to it with gentle honesty. And my heart, still so full of hurt, wants to make room to sort out the memories of my father’s life; the good & the bad, the laughter & the tears, the loss & the love.

It’s almost two years. I simply can’t believe it. I miss him. I look into the mirror, and once again I feel exposed, vulnerable and wounded. But these days, I also see strength, resilience and courage.  I have survived, I am still surviving. And I am finding ways to thrive.

The mirror beckons, asking that I find a way to let these two truths co-exist. My father died by suicide. And I must live with that. But our story deserves to stand in the light; all of it… because without that, I lose him all over again. How do I find a way to let the reflection hold both of these pieces?

I look in the mirror now. I see a daughter who loved  her father. I see how much she misses him. Perhaps, if I close my eyes, and let the wall come down, I’ll be able to find my father gazing back at me. And through our tears, we can smile and for a moment, be together.

Today marks 20 months since my father’s suicide. I suppose it is time to begin counting not by months, but rather “year.” One year and a half, one year and 8 months… That word… “year” is hard for me. It makes the time since his death loom larger than I am ready for.

I remain fundamentally and forever altered. I’ve set down the advocacy work for now. Though it imbued my father’s death with some sense of meaning, it had begun to take a toll on me. Dwelling in the world of suicide loss and prevention came at a cost. It felt worth it, until it didn’t. And hard as it was to admit, I needed to step away. Harder to admit was that I wanted to.

I need to figure out who I am, outside of being the survivor of suicide loss. Yes I know I remain a devoted mother, wife and friend. But where these newly altered pieces of me fit and how to fulfill and strengthen myself remains undefined. I began building a jewelry business. A business I once found successful & fulfilling. A business my father was so proud of. Ever so slowly it has allowed me to begin to see and slowly embrace a creative purpose, an identity… artist, designer, entrepreneur. These are titles, names that are not a part of the horrific loss I’ve endured. And there is so much symbolism in this endeavor. The beads are the pieces, stringing them together one by one, is like picking up the pieces of my life. They come together to create something new, something beautiful, quite different than before. My journey is deeply reflected in such work. Fragments and pieces coming together in this new self that is unfolding. 

Today marks 20 months. I will never ever be at peace with losing my father to suicide. Every day I strive to learn how to live with it. And I strive for a balance between giving his death purpose, and imbuing my life with the same. I deserve that. Don’t I? Guilt tells me no. But I cannot let guilt define where I go from here. I don’t let many people in these days. I’m guarded, feeling vulnerable and fragile in many ways. But this is my truth. It’s still hard, every single day. But I journey on determined to find happiness, fulfillment and joy. My dad would want that.

20 months… I miss him. I can’t undo his final act. But I’ve discovered that I can’t get lost in it either. The journey is long and hard. I’m tired. But I know there is a resilience within. He lost sight of his. I must continually tap into mine, even when I lose faith in it’s existence. He lost hope. I cleave to it, the notion that it won’t always hurt like this, that it will get better in time. His death has forever altered me. But I cannot let it define me. I still want to bring meaning to such a senseless loss, but I want more than that. I need to find that balance.

So onward I walk, I step, I falter, I stumble, but I get up and keep going. So perhaps I’ve already discovered that this altered self, is strong, courageous and braver than I’ve ever given her credit for. And healing is a continual process… even 20 months later.

And still, I miss him. That will never change.

baby-deb-and-dad

Dear Dad,

Tomorrow would have been your 74th birthday.  I still felt the impulse to buy you a card, then I passed the display and instead, began to weep. I thought this second birthday without you would be easier, I was wrong.

I remember when we reconciled, I learned to cherish & never take for granted the simple act of picking up the phone on a holiday or a birthday, to share in good wishes and special sentiments of love & joy. After all, we had endured six years of special days coming and going, marked only by our absence from one another and the silence that filled the void. Yes, it truly felt like we were embarking on a brand new chapter in our relationship, full of promise, forgiveness, rebuilding and a love that felt deeper, stronger and even more authentic because of what we had endured. But that chapter came to a violent and abrupt end 18 months ago. Now our story can only be told in the looking back. And the thought of all that could have been, the pages left unwritten, break my heart.

Eighteen months; I know it’s been a year & a half, but for some reason I can’t bring myself to count it in that way. I’m not ready to put the word year in that space. Isn’t that silly? It is, I know. I wake up almost every day at 3:00 in the morning Dad. We never did get a time of death for you, another missing piece to the puzzle of your suicide. My mind is still trying to make sense of it all. But how do you make sense out of something so very senseless. And yet, my eyes open at 3:00 in the morning and I wonder, is that when you died? Are you trying to give me something to cleave to? Are you trying to answer one of the myriad of questions that occupies my mind at some point each & every day? I’m beginning to believe it.

Oh Dad, I thought getting through all of the firsts would make these seconds without you easier to bear. But I’m told that the second year can be even harder than the first. That darn grief does not follow a linear path, that much I have learned. It’s a constant dance of forward, back and side to side. Right now I feel like I’m just spinning, dizzy, unable to find my center. Tomorrow is just another day I feel like I have to get through. Then some balance might return.

I wish I could have helped you more. I wish that I knew then what I know now. I wish that all that I have learned and all that I have done in the aftermath of your suicide, could help you. I wish it could bring you back. I wish, I wish, for so much I wish.

Why did you go Dad? What happened? What was that final straw that took you from us? Why didn’t you tell us that you were feeling suicidal? Why? I hate that word. Because I will never have the answer. I know the truest answer lies in the illness that consumed your mind. But why didn’t you feel like you could keep fighting on? What made that morning different from all of the others that you had pushed through?

Listen to me; it’s the eve before your birthday and I’m rambling on about me & what I feel. But what about you? Are you at peace? I hope so. Do you know, do you see how much you are missed? I hope so. Do you know how much you were loved. I pray you did.

Tomorrow is your birthday. I wish I could say that I’ll celebrate you, but I just want to get past it. Your suicide has made it deeply complicated to remember you in life, to touch upon the good memories and reminisce.  Maybe one day that will come. I’m told it will. It would be nice to savor a shared moment of joy without having trauma barging in on every darn memory I try to access.

I’m sorry that I couldn’t help you more Dad. I tried my best. I believe that you know that. But you didn’t tell me your whole truth. You kept a mask on and allowed me only to see a portion of your pain. Were you trying to protect me? You didn’t. You know that now Dad, right?

But I love you. I’ll always love you. And most days I forgive you. Other days I feel like you abandoned me. I can’t lie. You were not always easy, and goodness knows you could be a deeply complicated man. Ours was not a relationship without perils and pitfalls & for a long while we walked on separate paths. But we stood at a fork in the road and found one another again. I am eternally grateful for that. And even in your last months and weeks on this earth, stripped down to your most vulnerable self, you allowed me to know you on a deeper level. I felt like I understood you better, and I came to see that just like me, you were shaped by your own upbringing and all of the dysfunction that you endured. In short, I knew that you did as a father, the very best that you could with what you knew. Not every child gets to see that in their parent no matter how old they get. I thank you for that. I thank you for allowing me a glimpse into your own very human journey. I only wish I could have seen more.

Tomorrow is your birthday. So I’m going to try to end this note with a birthday wish for you…

I wish for you that the peace that eluded you in life, is now yours. May your soul be at rest. And may you always carry with you the knowledge that you were loved, even in your most broken state. Even when darkness blinded you to it, You were loved. And even when you felt most alone, you were loved. I wish you were still here. I wish that I could pick up the phone and call you. I wish I could give you a hug.

And it is my fervent wish that the love we shared can transcend

time & space

pain & sorrow

life and death

So that all that I’ve written can find its way to you with God’s grace.

D

deb-and-dad-childhood

 

 

The following are the reflections that I shared on the morning of Erev Yom Kippur and the day after Yom Kippur on my Facebook page… On fractured faith & forgiveness….

10/11/16 (The morning of Erev Yom Kippur)

Admittedly I find Yom Kippur difficult. The liturgy of these holy days feels almost unbearable to me and leaves me feeling vulnerable and deeply emotional. I have forgiven my father for the way that he left us and I’ve forgiven God for the violent and heartbreaking final words in my father’s Book of Life. But the language of prayer, how to talk to God, remains a major stumbling block. It’s as if there is a deep chasm that stands between Me, God and Faith, and I am still searching for the words that will build a bridge that connects us once more.
But I understand the deep power of forgiveness. And I understand too the importance of believing as well that my father has forgiven me for not fully recognizing the depths of his pain, hard as I tried. And how I must forgive myself for the same.
I also know that I got 3 1/2 more years with my father, because our family did not allow our estrangement to be the final footnote in our story. Six years were lost, but we did not dwell there forever. We journeyed forward into something deeper, stronger, more accepting and loving than before.
And while I struggle with regret that I could not save my father, I never have to wonder if he knew that I loved him. And I know he loved me. We said it, we lived it, we held that love tightly.
Forgiveness is a gift.
I have lived it. And for that I am surely grateful. I am a deeply flawed person. So was my father. So are we all. It is what makes us human. And I’d give anything to have that imperfect man back in my life.
May we all seek and find forgiveness in this New Year. May we be accepting of one another’s flaws & take ownership of our wrongdoings. May we choose forgiveness over punishment, anger and resentment. May we remember that our time on this earth is short, and not miss the opportunities to share our love, compassion and kindness. May we forgive ourselves for those places in which we feel so very broken. Because those are the places that allow the light in.
May your fast be meaningful. I cannot believe it is God who inscribes us in the Book of Life, so instead I say, may we choose to fill the blank pages of tomorrow with humanity, hope, peace, love and forgiveness. Let our stories be full of meaning, mitzvot and mercy.
And may God accompany us through every chapter and verse, an enduring source of comfort, love and strength.

10/13/16 (The day after Yom Kippur)

Dear God,
I couldn’t pull myself together for Kol Nidre. I came to services on Yom Kippur morning. I cried throughout, I left the sanctuary often and I couldn’t utter a word of the liturgy. But I showed up. It would’ve been easier and kinder to myself to stay home. My journey to heal my sense of faith stumbled many steps back. The liturgy pierced my soul with a tirade of triggers. And my knees barely held me upright. But this trauma survivor showed up and stood in your presence. I wanted to show you that I’m still in this fractured and fragile relationship with you God. So I showed up and offered silent prayers of the heart, and tears that held all of the words I couldn’t utter. And that is all I could do God. This Yom Kippur no easier than the last, no less painful, leaving me feeling no less vulnerable, is done. And I’m grateful to simply have gotten through it God. I showed up, in sacred space on the holiest of days to say simply, “Hineni” here I am, here I stand. I’m still in this with you God. Whatever “this” is… I’m not giving up.

yom-kippur