Mourning through Tears, Silence, Song
The below is an excerpt from our publication “Hanukkah: Lights in the Darkness.”
My grief moves through me like a wild river, rising and falling with total disregard for my willat times so strong it breaks through the levees of my personhood, flooding the whole landscape of my world. Then just as suddenly, it starts to recede, leaving in its wake sometimes a sense of peace, emptiness or a deep connection to my brother who has recently died.
There are three ways to mourn: to weep, to be silent, and to sing.
The first way is to weep: even if our tears are for ourselves, for our ache of loneliness, our anger, for our pain of loss and lovefor they are still sacred. But we may weep only if we do not weep too long, only if the spark of our own spirit is not quenched by a grief too drawn out.
The second way is to be silent: before lighting the Hanukkah candles, enter into silence to recall a shared moment, to remember a word or glance, or simply to miss someone very much and wish that he or she could be here.
The third way is to sing: with those gathered together, sing a hymn to life, a life that still abounds in sights and sounds and vivid colors. We sing the songs of our beloved and we trust in our heart that there is a God who hears the bittersweet melody of our song*.
* Adapted from a piece attributed to Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, in a chapter entitled “Grief and Bereavement” by Simcha Paull Raphael in Jewish Pastoral Care edited by Rabbi Dayle A. Friedman. www.jewishlights.com
These "Spirituality Notes" are excerpts from our monthly E-newsletter. Articles are © JBFCS Rita J. Kaplan Jewish Connections Programs and may be reprinted free of charge as long as this credit line is included.