Tuesday, February 22, 2011

A Year Of Mourning

Dear Lois,

Over the past twelve months, I have become more in-tune to my spiritual beliefs – that is to say, I didn’t become religious or spiritual in light of the recent misfortunes in our lives, but I have reconnected with by base beliefs. Being the only one in our family that wasn’t christened in the Catholic faith (long story…), I’ve been a so-called member of many of the Christian denominations out there. Baptized Southern Baptist at the age of 9, I stayed in that faith until my early teens, then switched between the Lutheran and the Methodist churched until I was about 15. Then when I entered a four year relationship with, what would become my fiancé, my high school/early-college sweet-heart, I dabbled in the LDS (Mormon) religion. Since meeting Chris, I’ve gone to two reformed protestant churches; the Episcopal Church and the United Church of Christ.

Since then, I have exposed myself to one of the original faiths, Judaism. Judaism, with its long history of dealing with the soul of man, its intimate knowledge of man's achievements and foibles, his grandeur and his weakness, has wisely devised a system of graduated mourning periods. During this time, the mourner may express his or her grief and release, with calculated regularity, the built-up tensions caused by bereavement.

The Jewish religion provides a beautifully structured approach to mourning which is divided into five stages. Aninut, Lamentation, Shivah, Sheloshim and a Year of Mourning.

The fifth stage is the twelve-month period during which things return to normal, and business once again becomes routine, but the inner feelings of the mourner are still wounded by the rupture of relationship with the loved one.

The observance that most affects the daily life of the mourner during the twelve-month period is the complete abstention from parties and festivities, both public and private. Participation in these gatherings is simply not consonant with the depression and contrition that the mourner experiences.

This was not meant to look like a shrine,
I just moved the candles
closer for the picture.

It borders on the absurd for the mourner to dance gleefully while his parent lies dead in a fresh grave (or in our case, separated into several boxes and thrown in the ocean, hanging from a necklace, buried with her father, sitting on a shelf, and in my house, hanging out in a Japanese Urn on the liquor cabinet - exactly where she would have wanted to be).

At the close of this last stage, the bereaved is not expected to continue his mourning. So with that being said, No More Sadness. Period. [I so wish it was as easy as typing the words and the actions will follow. Unfortunately, it's not. I don't know how one can expect it to go away.]

While today is a day to remember Mazha’s life that passed away a year ago today, it’s also time to celebrate the new life that came into the world today. Kensi’s uncle Kyle and Auntie Cathy had a baby girl today - Kayla. While I have pictures of her in the hospital nursery, I’ll ‘allow’ the newbie parents to post the first photos of their princess before I do so. I will also let them share the story of Cathy falling asleep during labor (that woman falls asleep at the drop of the hat), and how what she desired the most was to have her eye lashes curled (if people were going to take pictures, she wanted to look flawless). It’s not my place to tell that story, or share with you the uncomfortable conversation I witnessed where Kyle stood in the hallway with his mother-in-law discussing her daughter’s cervix. It’s just not my place. Sorry folks :)

In honor of Mazha’s life, I wanted to share the video that we played at her funeral. It had to be split up into two videos because of YouTubes time limit on video uploads.

Part 1

Part 2


Kathi C said...

What a beautiful tribute to your mom. Thoughts and prayers are with you and your family today!

simone said...

Thought of you a lot today, was up at 2 and wanted to call. didn't want to wake you but figured you were probably up like me. Took the week off and then decided to work 10 hours today to avoid this day. Like the video haven't watched it since that day and did not remember 75% of these pics. Missing you guys and gal a lot these days. Love Always, Simone

Irene said...

As always.....Love.

Lisa said...

I was thinking of you all yesterday. Thank you for posting the video. Luv you all.
Auntie Lisa

Anonymous said...

love ya Paul. you know we're always here for you & thanks for visiting us. - cath

World said...

Thank you for sharing your experiences.
Help us to promote awareness of surrogacy through World Surrogacy Day on 4th November 2011...

Jeannee said...

Absolutely beautiful! This tribute ... this blog! The beautiful, wonderful, loving life you have made for your daughter!!! I really hope you update this soon ... that you come back in and start writing again!