Today my chest feels tight. All day. Yesterday was the 30th day since Jonny died. Today we had a ceremony at the cemetery. My father-in-law spoke, some of his friends read poetry, others played music.
It was a gorgeous day. Everyone hung around for a while. It was painful. And sad. And perfect.
I think I was really anxious about it. Though I was unaware. I’ve kept so busy. People in and out of my house all day. Running around picking up and dropping off at school. Setting up our new home. Back at SoulCycle. Blogging. Organizing. Doing. It feels as if there is not a free second in the day. I am late for everything always. And I am forever going straight from one thing to another. Presumably I’m doing this subconsciously. There is just no time to think.
Because whenever I do, I realize. It’s real. It’s surreal. It’s unbelievable. All I could think today at the cemetery is: I can’t believe that this is actually what we are doing right now. I cannot believe this is our life. I don’t believe this is our reality. But it is…
And in my weakness. In my mourning. In my state of unknowing…not understanding…I’ve come into this new strength. I am more capable. Stronger on my bike. Getting more done in my days.
Because the is an unfortunate, acute understanding of how precious life is when you’ve lived such tragedy.
My dad used to tell a story about a man who lived in a small home with his wife and 4 children and 2 dogs. They had a cow and a goat and 10 chickens out back. He went to his rabbi and said: Rabbi, I just can’t handle it. My home is so small. Six of us share two bedrooms. The dogs sleep at our feet and bark in the mornings. The rooster wakes us all at the crack of dawn. There is so much work to be done with the animals every day. My wife and I are exhausted. The rabbi tells him to bring the chickens into the house. They can live in the kitchen. The man does not understand. He listens diligently though. The next week he comes in and says: The rooster is even louder inside the house. The chickens are shitting all over my kitchen. There is no room for us to move around while we prepare our meals. The rabbi shakes his head in understanding and tells the man to bring the goat into his home. He can live in the room with the children. The man is very confused, but does as he is told. The next week, distraught, disheveled, he comes to the rabbi: I cannot stand it. The goat has eaten up all the sheets in the children’s room. He is moving on to their pajamas. My wife spends her days mending clothing in between cooking and cleaning and tending to the animals. We cannot live another day like this. The rabbi nods and tells him he understands. Now bring in the cow he says. There is no room! the man replies. There is always room. Find some, the rabbi replies. So the man clears out space in his entryway and brings the cow in. Now the cow is mooing all night since he is uncomfortable. None of them sleep. Everyone is miserable. The next week the man comes in with bags under his eyes, crying: Please rabbi, please. We cannot live like this another minute! What are you doing to us?! Why are you punishing us?!!! The rabbi smirks. He tells the man to move all the animals out. Back to their respective living spaces. The man runs home and does so immediately. Just a few short days later, the man come back to the rabbi, practically kissing his feet. Thank you thank you. My home feels enormous. We are so happy to have all the space and fresh air. My children are happy, my wife is relaxed, we are sleeping through the night.
Is is true that in order to see the beauty, some of us need to experience the darkness?
I don’t want to believe that exclusively, but there is no question, that though I saw beauty before, I appreciate it so much more. This tragedy has opened doors for me. Shown me some light. Made me believe. Love deeper. See truth.
There is so much good in this world. It is only my fault if I do not seek it out, appreciate it, live it.