Grieving when one cannot

My dad died one week ago, through it I have had to find the strength to stay calm and hold myself together for the sake of my family. My wife, my four kids, my mother, my uncles, I am holding strong for them and while it is a tremendous weight to bear, I gladly will shoulder it. I have not grieved and I feel horrible, I am depressed, saddened to the very core of my being, but not yet…

My father’s ashes will soon be in my mom’s possession and with it, a funeral will be planned. I will be talking during it, reading a eulogy and a poem shared beside this post. I will hold back the deluge of my heart a bit longer, then I will release an ocean of tears after.

I cannot begin to tell you how difficult this has been and will be a while still, but I can tell you that the hell of today, tomorrow, and for time to come, cannot last forever. My dad wouldn’t want this, I knew him, he was a happy, jovial, kind, and loving soul. This too shall pass, yet his memory will continue on forever. 

Once I have been freed to grieve, to release this pain and sorrow, I will dedicate myself, my life, and my works to his memory, to the kind of man he was. Yes, I am my own individual, but he raised me, as I am me, I am also part of him. The person I am today is greatly influenced and due to the person my father was, and I will seek to honor that every day I breathe. 

There’s a Jewish poem often recited during Shiva that has helped me immensely during this time called, “We remember them.” The poem reads;

At the rising sun and at its going down; We remember them.
At the blowing of the wind and in the chill of winter; We remember them.
At the opening of the buds and in the rebirth of spring; We remember them.
At the blueness of the skies and in the warmth of summer; We remember them.
At the rustling of the leaves and in the beauty of the autumn; We remember them.
At the beginning of the year and when it ends; We remember them.
As long as we live, they too will live, for they are now a part of us as We remember them.
When we are weary and in need of strength; We remember them.
When we are lost and sick at heart; We remember them.
When we have decisions that are difficult to make; We remember them.
When we have joy we crave to share; We remember them.
When we have achievements that are based on theirs; We remember them.
For as long as we live, they too will live, for they are now a part of us as, We remember them.
By Sylvan Kamens and Rabbi Jack Riemer

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