Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Memorial part IV

One's sadness from losing a loved one is never too far away. It's easily accessible, all it takes is a moment to sit yourself on a bench in front of his grave before Yom Kippur, all it takes is the fourth memorial to give you the shakey hands and eyes that seem stuck to the ground, with a blank stare.

I feel as if i've been punched in the stomach.

I guess this is the week for memorials, I am trying to figure it out completely, but the Armored Corps memorial was this evening. Thousands of people watching large screens as hundreds of names scrolled themselves towards the sky. I practiced reading Hebrew. The soldiers marched into the ampitheater to eerie tunes played on a flute. They marched in holding massive candles. Men recited prayers into the microphone, black and white clips of war fell across the screen as choruses sang more unfamiliar tunes to my ears. The Israeli flags waving in the air.

There were a couple case workers from the IDF assigned to the family after Tsiki fell. Two women, who accompanied me to Hebron in a bullet proof vest, who came to the house and warmly placed their hands on my cheek while I was exhausted from life, who've kept up with the family and checked in on them- One of them came and sat next to me for a short period. "You know her father was killed by terrorists when she was 6" whispers Tsiki's mother into my ear. " In Munich." she finishes. "Whaa? her dad was one of the athletes killed??!" "she nods". I look over at her in a completely different light from that moment on...

A young man finds me as I am walking around. "At Havara shel Tsiki nakhon!!?"(you are the girlfriend of Tsiki right?) he inquires. I nod, he goes on to introduce himself. The new commander of the unit and on and on... I guess when a young life stops. The labels continue, you're never not the girlfriend of the fallen soldier. What an awkward situation would that be if Bonez and I didn't have our breakup. I almost laugh at the thought. I'm curious to how others answer these questions.

With this whole self evaluation, Yom Kippur, sin repenting thing- I've thought a lot about how I feel now, vs last year- and I feel better, I can almost say I feel fine, alright, goodness goo, life is- normal? I often scan my brain, trying to envision who or what I would have become had this not occured so early in my adult life. I am eager to see a glimpse, to know if I am doing the right thing around these parts. I feel I am in the right place. So why does it continue to pain my heart? Why did I wake up the day of the ceremony with a sense of dread because I know exactly how my heart and mind would feel by the time I got home and so why did I go? And since I went, and my interview flashed on the screen in front of thousands, does that mean I am defined by this? Would people have cared about me more had this not occured? Would people have cared about me less? What's done is done, it cannot ever be reversed. I went to bed early enough and sleep well. I felt quite old last night.

So in the name of grief. A feeling many of my peers are unfamiliar with at our age, but as my good friend Elad put it: "basically everyone is playing catch up to what we already experienced". I'd like to include an excerpt from Joan Didions book: a year of magical thinking. I've qouted her before, but no one speaks the truth as she

Grief turns out to be a place none of us know until we reach it. We anticipate (we know) that someone close to use could die, but we do not look beyond the few days of weeks that immediately follow such an imagined death. We misconstrue the nautre of the even those few days or weeks. We might expect if the death is sudden to feel shock. We do not expect this shock to be obliterative, dislocating to both body and mind. We might expect that we will be prostrate, inconsolable, crazy with loss. We do not expect to be literally crazy, cool. customers who believe that their husband is about to return and need his shoes. In the version of grief we imagine, the model will be ‘healing.’ A certain forward movement will prevail. The worst days will be the earliest days. We imagine that the moment to most severely test us will be the fungeral, after which this hypothetical healing will take place. When we anticipate the funeral we wonder about failing to ‘get through it,’ rise to the occasion, exhibit the ‘strength’ that invariably gets mentioned as the correct response to death. We anticipate needing to steel ourselves for the moment: will I be able to greet people, will I be able to leave the scene, will I be able even to get dressed that day? We have no way of knowing that his will not be the issue. We have no way of knowing that the funeral itself will be the anodyne, a kind of narcotic regression in which we are wrapped in the care of others and the gravity and meaning of the occasion. Nor can we know ahead of the fact (and here lies the heart of the difference between grief as we imagine it and grief as it is) the unending absence that follows, the void, the very opposite of meaning, the relentless succession of memoments during which we will confront the experience of meaninglessness itself.”


At 10/05/2006 12:42 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

will give you a huge hug later....


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