Sitting Shiva for What May Never Be Again

It dawned on me that within our quarantine we are in an almost six month process for sitting Shiva for the many things that may be a far reach to become part of our normal/taken-for-granted simple aspects of life anytime soon. Like shaking hands, sitting in a live-theater performance, shopping for necessities without the fear of catching a deadly virus, going to a ballgame or HUGGING OUR KIDS AND GRANDKIDS! Or planning for the High Holidays.

“Please Dear G-d, may you bless your Baby Boomers with quality of long life and good health so we can live some of the normalcies we have cherished and want to experience again.”

I have had a difficult time finding a subject to write about the past month that was not fueled with my deep sadness and frustration over the state of affairs in America. I have actually felt like a garbage disposal that has not been turned on for a while, filled with overwhelming emotions that need to be grinded up. Living alone is not easy, I have no one sharing my space to spew out the frustrations and injustices encompassing our world, and I can only call my kids so many times a day to vent!

But this past weekend, within the safe space of my home, I felt an explosion of I’M MAD AS HELL AND CAN’T TAKE THIS ANYMORE! I let the tears fall, numerous times. I did feel better. Probably because I had been holding in the flood and finally turned on the garbage disposal switch. (Didn’t want my kids to worry that I sounded out-of-sorts.)

In my mind I started to list all that was bothering me. I realized, with some degree of assurance that many others feel as I do and our lists would be similar. And then again, for some, our lists would be on opposite sides. And I do respect everyone’s right to feel differently but with sudden clarity I grasped it was those differences that have caused my great concern.

I am someone who finds taking pen to hand, (or fingers to keyboard), a satisfying release of emotion that gives way to organized expressions of thoughts. Decades ago I learned a great tool that helps me sort out conflicting issues, so I sat down and used it, hoping I could organize my anxiety and worries. The process is a “Ben Franklin:” I take a sheet of paper, draw a line down the center, address the left side with PROS and the right side with CONS. Then I list the actual pros and cons on the subject I’m trying find clearness. I started my Ben Franklin with labeling it “Why Am I Feeling So Sad?”

My CONS:

-I haven’t spent time or hugged my kids or grandkids in almost six months

-Being alone

-The virus

-Will I or my loved ones get sick?

-Being quarantined

-If I got sick I would be alone because I wouldn’t let my family in the house

-Loss of my business

-No income

-I haven’t spent time or hugged my kids or grandkids in almost six months

-Being alone

-How long will this last?

-Can a viable vaccine be made?

-Are my family members doing all they need to do to stay safe and healthy?

-What will be the long-lasting emotional/psychological affect be on my four grandkids from this pandemic experience?

-I haven’t spent time or hugged my kids or grandkids in almost six months

-Being alone

-Bay Area fires have added a double quarantine for over 2½  weeks, haven’t taken a walk outside in weeks

-The current administration

-Confusion about people who approve of the president

-Racial issues

-Injustices in America

-The current administration

-Confusion about people who approve of the president

-I haven’t spent time or hugged my kids or grandkids in almost six months

-Being alone

-Bay Area fires have added a double quarantine for over 2½  weeks, haven’t taken a walk outside in weeks

-The streets of America

-The numerous outrageous decisions by the president

-The current administration

-Confusion about people who approve of the president

-Will the upcoming election go smoothly

-The current administration

-Confusion about people who approve of the president

-The numerous outrageous decisions by the president

-I haven’t spent time or hugged my kids or grandkids in almost six months

-Being alone

-What will America and life be like for my grandkids if he wins the election?

With all honesty, I let the list go on and on, even if it was repetitive, like my tears.

 

The PROS:

-I have time to finish my second novel

-I’m starting a new online business

The disparity of my list was not surprising but the last line of the CONS “What will America and life be like for my grandkids if he wins the election?” is what put me over the edge! I cried so hard with fear that our democracy could be turned into a state of an unrecognizable New Normal. Our grandkids are young, live within the bubble of their parents, schools and communities and don’t yet know who America is. They are just studying the history and have not lived long enough to experience the experiment of the United States of America or what real freedom brings and how desperately we need them to take what is happening seriously.

If they are of voting age, WE NEED THEM TO VOTE BLUE so they can have the America that their ancestors built for them. The children are the future of this country and we must let them know that the Hamilton they saw onstage and the songs they’ve memorized, have real meaning and how influential as a voting group they are to retaining what the Founding Fathers created for them.

History tells us that one man took control and changed the world, which Jews are all too familiar with. We remember so we don’t forget. We cannot let that kind of dictatorship happen again, regardless if the methods are different, resulting in power that is not his to control. Too much has changed within the workings of our government, with help of a swamp, where we need to take control back with our power to vote. Granted, some aspects of America NEEDS change and many believe positive change is coming. That can only happen if we vote in new leadership that sees all Americans as Americans.

I felt sick after the Republican Convention because I heard too many people praise falsehoods.

I felt hope after the Democratic Convention because I heard people share their optimism and faith with a way back to shaking hands again, to feel joy in those activities that make us happy, in the prospect that we will be able to go out for life’s normal necessities. I heard goals that were realistic and that it wasn’t too late to turn things around for America to be better, kinder and see everyone as we see ourselves.

I’m tired of sitting but I will sit until a vaccine is viable. I will sit until it is safe to go outside and resume my normal life. I will sit until I can hug my kids and grandkids with no fear of spreading a deadly virus. I will sit until I can go see live theater. I will sit until I feel like Shiva is over. I will sit until I feel that I do not have to mourn the possible loss of the United States of America.

And as my Bubbe used to say, “We cry, we mourn, we begin to eat and then we laugh again.” Halevai.

During this High Holiday season, I’m wishing you Apples and Honey, Happiness and Joy and most importantly, the conscious effort to make good health decisions.

May 5781 be the year of HEALTH! HEALTH! And more HEALTH with prayers for our country and its bright future…Sandy

 

About Sandra Taradash
As a Baby Boomer Bubbe who still feels 18 but has four grand kids to prove this is the 21 Century, Sandra writes to leave a legacy for the next generations. Her belief that these precious kids need to know their cultural and family's past in order for them to live their future is all the muse she needs! She has a Master's Degree in Psychology and Cross Cultural studies, has written a family history, personal memoir and is completing her first novel. Her grandmother's journey to America and life is her source for her deep belief and love for Judaism.

1 Comment

  1. Thank you for expressing what so many of us are feeling. Well done!

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