Retreat, Release, Renewal
"Well, we made a promise we swore we'd always remember
No retreat, baby, no surrender."
- Bruce Springsteen, "No Surrender"
Haven't felt much up to posting this week, but since I've already started getting emails asking if I'm still out there, here's a shout: yes, I am!
If we can plow through the late season ice storm that hit this morning, we're supposed to attend a retreat for bereaved families at the Camp Simcha site, once again run by that event-planning dynamo, Glen Holman. Last year, I blogged about my feelings both before and after the retreat, so my expectations for this year's are pretty much set. Like most valuable things in life, it will be difficult and painful, but ultimately rewarding and renewing. A surgeon will tell you that sometimes you have to open old wounds in order to cleanse them and advance the healing process, and that's kind of what what I expect from this weekend.
Aaron has been on my mind a lot lately, even more than usual. Partly it's because of the upcoming retreat, partly it's that Pesach is coming, the holiday so intensely associated with Aaron's final weeks. Last year, we couldn't even bear to make Pesach at home, just couldn't face having our most joyful and intense family event without him. So we went away to a hotel, not for people's usual reasons of avoiding the gruelling work of Pesach cleaning and prep (though of course that was a nice ancillary benefit), but just so as to davka have as different a Pesach experience as possible.
In a very real sense, it felt like we simply skipped Pesach last year. This year, for financial and other reasons, we'll be home. And it will be hard, so very hard, to sit down to the first seder at our family table without Aaron.
My recent mood is the main reason I haven't been posting much lately. I don't want this blog to overfocus on my grief and sorrow, to turn it into a "pity party" as my son Shalom puts it. But quite honestly, there just hasn't been much else I've felt like writing about lately. Maybe this weekend will change that a bit, provide some level of catharsis, of emotional release, that will get me back on an even keel. At least, that's what I'm striving for.
A good Shabbos to all. See you next week with, hopefully, a bit more frequency and maybe even a bit more buoyancy.