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Posts Tagged ‘yahrzeit’

img_2740Life is hard. There are hours, days, weeks, months, and even years that every aspect of living is overwhelming.

Fortunately, I am mostly blessed to face hard hours, but during a rare period of time, I may face hard days or weeks. . . .rarely do I face hard months or even hard years.

I am a thriver.

A long time ago, I decided that I didn’t have time for serious suffering so after a few days, I usually shake off my sadness, my pain, and/or my devastation by taking one step and then another.

But there are two times of year that my body seems to take a hiatus from holding it together. One is around the time of my mother’s yahrzeit, the anniversary of her death, and the other time is the anniversary of when my life was tragically decimated because of the action of others. The funniest part of these times of the year is that I don’t see it coming even if I theoretically know it will.

This week marked 29 years since my mother took her last breath.

Mom’s death nearly crushed me. Even now as I type these words, I am short of breath. And yet, for the first time since her passing, I can see how much I have moved forward. Her memory doesn’t haunt me daily and for the most part I have detached from any real feelings surrounding my mother’s tragic life.

I have been able to move forward so much so that I over the last year I allowed photos of me as a little girl into my house. I guess it was time for me to admit that that little girl really did exist. While I have yet to look at them, I don’t cringe when I see the small stack of photos in my office. Instead I welcome them with an awareness that even though my childhood was seeped in horrific pain, I really was alive and not only did I make it, I became a beautiful soul.

Back to this week:
I have been hurting, creating mountains out of molehills, and feeling painfully alone even as I have been surrounded by loved ones reminding me that I am loved and even adored.  The truth is that my body has been letting me know that this week has forever been imprinted by mother’s mark. The result is that I have a urinary tract  infection (UTI) and a respiratory infection.

I have also found myself sobbing for no reason at all only to smile when in the back of my head I have become the drama queen that I deplore. But for this past week, I couldn’t stop it. My spirit was being assaulted by the memories of my childhood, of a time when I couldn’t protect the onslaught of assault.

My mother was sick, profoundly sick. Her sickness left me ill equipped for thriving and yet I am a thriver. So as the week of her yahrzeit turns into the next week, I am moving forward. I am taking one step and then another.

My UTI will heal as will my respiratory infection. My friends will forgive my antics and some may even hug me and remind me that I am loved.

Tonight, I am taking one step and then another. . . .

Onward with love and light,
Chava

PS – I am profoundly aware that this time of year leaves my spirit bruised, but I am also aware that I will always emerge to find my center again.

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Prologue:
My father died 17 years and one day ago. While the loss feels fresh, it really was 6,206 days since my beloved father took his last breath. He left behind seven grandchildren who adored him along with their parents too. There is not a day that goes by when I don’t think of him or the way he walked in the world.  My father loved to tell stories, he was always telling stories. 

~ ~ ~

 “There’s always room for a story that can
transport people to another place.”
~J.K. Rowling

As a little girl, I remember devouring story after story. It didn’t matter how a story came to me. Good storytellers and good books held equal footing as far as I was concerned, but the man who will forever be remembered as the most amazing storyteller in the world is none other than my dad, Morry Bloomberg.

My father had a way with words. He could engage friend or stranger, child or adult. Wherever he went, he would find a perfect story to share and a way to lift people’s spirits.

As a young girl, I remember going into Giant, our local grocery store, and each and every cashier wanted Morry in their lines. It seemed like everyone would address him by name and take a moment to say hi to him. I loved how people knew my father and wanted to connect with him.

booksDad gave me love of words, all words. While he riveted me with his stories, he also loved reading and encouraged me to read and then read some more. It was through my own reading that I was able to visit far away places and navigate childhood as I did.

Gratitude Abounds:
Today, I can always be found with a book that I am reading, a podcast that is keeping me on the edge of my seat, and my own creative writing. Words fuel my soul.

And as luck would have it, I love telling stories and can sometimes be found sharing those stories with others whether in a grocery store line, an elevator, a classroom, or even a stage.

I am the storyteller and writer that I am because my father filled my world with stories.

My father will always hold the sacred space in my heart as being the best storyteller ever! If he is looking down at me, I hope he is proud of how he taught me to honor the power of words and inspired me to share my own stories.

NOTE: Please offer feedback by commenting on this post or letting me know that you like it after reading it. Thank you!

 

 

 

 

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Twenty-seven years ago I buried my mother. I was 24 years old, newly married and devastated beyond words.

I remember thinking, how could I mourn a woman that deeply wounded my spirit and beat my body. And yet, I did. I mourned the lost years; I mourned the belief that one day she would love me unconditionally; and I lost the only mother I ever had.

A handful of memories made me realize that if she hadn’t been so mentally ill or had received the right help, my mother may have been a beautiful and giving soul. But she wasn’t very beautiful, she was mentally ill at the core of her being and she coped with it the only way she knew how. She drank excessively and took prescription medication as if it were candy.  When she wasn’t volatile, she lived a life in a drunken stupor.

There are times, I mourn the mother I never had. I wish I could have felt the warmth and love that only a mother/parent can give. But instead, I remember the turbulence that reigned as addiction ravished her body.

Now that I have lived longer without her then I had with her, I am acutely aware that there is so much wisdom I have gleaned since her death.

Sunset Wilmington NC by Lynne Klein

Sunset in Wilmington, North Carolina Photo Courtesy of Lynne Klein

1.
After struggling with the one person that I did not choose for my entire childhood, I now take David Whyte’s writing to heart, “anything or anyone that does not bring you alive is too small for you.” While it took me a while to get to this place, I did get there. I have let go of people and things that exhausted or troubled my spirit. It isn’t always easy, but it usually feels like the right thing to do.  For the most part, I am trying to hold onto that which jazzes my soul; this goes for people as well as ‘things’.

2.
Red used to me the most toxic color in the world to me.  I associated red with the very rough conditions I lived under. Growing up, many of the doors, ceilings, and walls were painted red; even the shutters on the front of our house were red. I hated red. Red was analogous to child abuse and suffering.  My mother loved red so much that she dyed her hair many shades of red over the years.

After moving out of my house, I swore that red was my enemy. Really, I did!!! And then about 4 years ago, I went into a chiropractor’s office for the first time. Walking into his office, I was surrounded by red walls.  After hearing so many awesome things about this chiropractor, I knew I couldn’t walk out.  So I sat down and literally felt a cold sweat overtake me. Over time the reactions faded and I found myself falling in love with the very color I once hated. Because of the healing space and the fabulous adjustments, red was slowly transformed from a noxious color to a healing color.

(Note: I love that as I was considering writing this blog the most beautiful red sunset showed up on my Facebook feed and the photographer gave me permission to use it! Don’t you love the photo above?)

3.
After fighting years of demons, I have learned that it is incumbent upon me to always seek the best for myself. While reality may sometimes be a little messy, I often find myself thinking about Mary Oliver’s final question in ‘The Summer Day”, “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”

This question has become vital to my existence. I am always working towards creating a conscious life that encompasses beauty and light by always asking myself what I will do with my “one wild and precious life”? Now I live like the thriver that I am!

Conclusion:
While my mother’s life was not for a blessing, I am awed that I still learned from being her child. And the bottom line is that I love life. I have come so far! May my life be for a blessing – always.

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Life is full of cycles. As it says in both Ecclesiastes and Turn! Turn! Turn! (To Everything There Is A Season):

To everything (turn, turn, turn)
There is a season (turn, turn, turn)
And a time to every purpose, under heaven

A time to be born, a time to die
A time to plant, a time to reap
A time to kill, a time to heal
A time to laugh, a time to weep

To everything (turn, turn, turn)
There is a season (turn, turn, turn)
And a time to every purpose, under heaven

A time to build up, a time to break down
A time to dance, a time to mourn
A time to cast away stones, a time to gather stones together

To everything (turn, turn, turn)
There is a season (turn, turn, turn)
And a time to every purpose, under heaven

A time of love, a time of hate
A time of war, a time of peace
A time you may embrace, a time to refrain from embracing

To everything (turn, turn, turn)
There is a season (turn, turn, turn)
And a time to every purpose, under heaven

A time to gain, a time to lose
A time to rend, a time to sew
A time for love, a time for hate
A time for peace, I swear it’s not too late

Written by Pete Seeger • Copyright © T.R.O. Inc.
 ~ ~ ~
Today is my father’s yahrzeit, the anniversary of his death; Morry Bloomberg died 15 years ago today. I remember that time as if it is an open wound that feels like it will never heal. And yet, the good news is that it did heal. Moving forward became my reality.
 
While the loss of my father sometimes looms larger than life, the devastation is mostly held at bay. I miss him deeply, but his presence is always within arm’s reach.
 
I loved my father and all the moving parts that made him both beautiful and challenging. My father was not always good at taking care of me, but his love was profound and pure. I never ever doubted his love, only his ability to keep me safe. (BUT, that is not the story I want to share now.)
 
In the last few days, I have found myself navigating some beautiful light and profound darkness. This is what happens to me around the time of my father’s yahrzeit. This is the time when I recall the multiple dichotomies of not only my father, but of other people and other times in my life. Somehow this is one of the times of year that inner reflection is inevitable.
 
Very few things in life are simple. We love intensely and then we lose our hearts with deep veracity. We create beautiful masterpieces and then destroy them with a fierceness that only an artist can understand. We do our best to change the world for good and then one day our spirit needs a break; it can no longer make a difference so we give up.
 
And then we find ourselves loving again, creating again, and doing our part to change the world again. The cycle begins – again.
 
Navigating the world as I do means that I have to honor the cycles that nurture both profound light and profound dark within me. I have to do what my father would have called, “listening to the silence”. So. . .that is exactly what I do this time of year and many others too. I “listen to the silence”: I take some very deep breaths and I allow myself to reflect inward.
Ocean Sept 2014

Photo courtesy of my someone who really knows how to listen to the silence, Shay Seaborne.

My desire to listen to the silence always coincides with the anniversary of my father’s passing.
 
There is no surprise that my father used to have a loving way that  he would hold my ears and say, ‘listen to the silence’. Love and calmness would permeate my entire being in those sweet moments.
 
So, today, on my father’s yahrzeit, I am consciously taking the time to ‘listen to the silence’, to remember my father, and to honor my spirit that is craving a little more quiet in my world.
 
May my father’s memory always remind me to go inward and to listen to the still quiet voice that is always illuminating my way.
 
May I always honor the cycles that move my spirit.
 
Onward with love,
Chava

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red yahrzeit candle26 years ago, I buried my mother. I remember one relative telling me she didn’t understand why I was so sad, but I was. As tough as my relationship with my mother was, I knew that once I buried her, I would never be able to make it better.

Over the last 26 years, I have faced some of the horrific memories and found ways to heal. The work is relentless, but the benefits are great. I am blessed to have found ways to navigate the darkness and friends that will listen to me on the rare days when the weight of my pain is too heavy to carry. The good news is that those days are few and far between.

For me, I have found that healing has happened on so many levels. I no longer feel deep anger or sadness on a regular basis. Time has been good to me. Sharing my story has helped me detach and move forward. I can now go months without thinking of the impact of her choices or feeling a physical reaction to my memories of her.

Through her actions, my mother taught me how to be a loving soul and a good mother. I knew I never wanted to mother like her or to lose control of myself to addiction. While I am not perfect, I am good enough and sometimes I am even good!

Changing my name so many years ago was the beginning of my healing journey. Writing, chanting, and drumming helped me dig deeper. Healing from domestic violence does not happen without taking many deep breaths, releasing the tears, and even allowing the nightmares to visit each night.  You have to go through the pain in order to find a softer landing, a better place.

Tonight I am missing the possibilities that were lost upon my mother’s death, but I am also feeling immense gratitude that I am exactly where I am. I may be sad in this moment, but it is the sadness that comes each yahrzeit (anniversary of a death) and each Mother’s Day.

The tears are cleansing. My heart is no longer broken. And I am breathing deeply.

Sadness happens. Healing happens too.

 

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Note: I will be Counting the Omer for a total of 49 days, from Passover to Shavuot or from Slavery to Freedom. For many, this is simply the Counting the Omer; for others, it is a tool for exploring the kabbalistic teachings in an organized way. For me, it is a time to actively reflect on my Journey Towards Wholeness. The more I am whole, the more free I will become.  [http://t.co/dBPYjDxSGj . . . .]

red yahrzeit candle

My mother’s yahrzeit was today.  While I nearly forgot, my body remembered; my body always remembers.  By mid-day, a headache formed making it impossible for me to relax and enjoy my afternoon.  In fact, as I found myself with time in one of my favorite parts of the country, Woodstock (New York), yet all I could do was take time to talk to my sons and then come back to the house I am staying to shower and write.

I needed to be alone. I needed to to take time to release the tears that often remain latent. While tonight, I don’t feel like I can allow the tears to flow freely, I am allowing them to come to my eyes.  Once I know that I will have hours of privacy, I may take the time I need to cry.

While I now realize that life for Marilyn was far from easy, I acknowledge that my life as her daughter was horrible. I will never forget what I endured on a daily basis.  Still, I am not sure she could help herself; she was too sick to manage her body and mind. As I result, there will be moments of my life when I have to navigate a few too many emotional wounds.  The good news is that I can now go months without considering the impact of my childhood pain. I am so blessed that all the years of hard work are paying off. While dark memories may come, they only last for brief moments not for any length of time!!!

Each year, I try seek a healthy way of approaching Marilyn’s life and death.  For some reason, this year, I am feeling deeply scarred by her legacy and more vulnerable then I’d like to admit.

Instead of hiding in the shadows of pain, I want to bask in the light inspired me to thrive – always.  My Omer Reflections have continuously motivated me to keep finding tools to support me in My Journey Towards Wholeness. I am alive! This is the time to keep nurturing my life in the best ways possible!!

My mother’s life and subsequent death filled me with tools for survival and thriving.  That awareness feels awesome.  That is what I am focusing on as I move into Day 23 of the Counting of the Omer.  Today, I find myself committing to life and doing whatever it takes to thrive.

My mother harmed her body by continuously filling her body with drugs and alcohol. With that in mind, I am going to start my mornings off with food that is nurturing and energy provoking. Lately, I have noticed that breakfast always leaves me tired. Upon reflection, I realized that the only time I felt energetic and ready for the morning is when I begin the day with a green smoothie, so tomorrow, I will begin that routine again.  AND on my way back home, I will finally purchase the Ninja (smoothie maker/blender) and fruit/veggies for my daily smoothies. It’s time. Originally, I was going to wait until I moved to Houston, but waiting no longer seems prudent.

While money is still tight for me right now, being healthy is a bigger challenge.  I have work to do and I don’t want to wait any longer. My mother’s yahrzeit  inspired me to take better care of myself; I am worth making healthy.

All ideas for making healthy smoothies are welcome! I need your help!

With love, light, and blessings,
Chava

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13 years later. . . . .

Let’s get one reality out of the way.  My father was a deeply flawed human being that made significant mistakes over the course of his lifetime especially when it came to raising and protecting his little girl, me.  Yet, I am blessed that I can celebrate another side to a man I love deeply.  A long time ago, I chose to let go of the pain, to move forward, and to spend a lot more time remembering the extraordinary parts of my father.  And regardless of some of the challenges, he was an amazing Zaydie to his grandchildren and a loving soul to those that crossed his path.

Everyone that knew my father loved him.  Everyone.

While he struggled with my mother and the challenges that she posed, he was able to leave most of those feelings behind once he walked out our kitchen door.  Morry loved the world and much of what it had to offer.  He was a passionate reader, a lover of music, and a kind soul.

I am who I am because Morry Bloomberg was my father; he raised me to love people, stories, and music.  A day has not gone by without me thinking about my father and the many legacies he left behind.

My father guided me to walk in the world with a deep appreciation for each and every person in the human race while sharing brief words, stories, or jokes with all.  To this day, I feel guilty if I don’t want to interact with a cashier or someone holding the door.  My father taught me to be better than that, he taught me to acknowledge each and every person that I made eye contact with.

Sharing Stories and Jokes

I loved how my father had a story or joke to share with each and every person he met each day; he never hesitated to talk to any person that crossed his path; he always had a small offering to share. I was especially struck by his knowledge of everything going on in the news and how he would share information from all that he was reading at any given moment.  He was always reading.

Morry loved all people. Cashiers and family/friends were on equal footing; the doctor and the guys that took care of our yard were each human beings.  No one was better than anyone else.  And if anyone needed his help, he would do whatever he could to help.

Each and every person that I have met over the years believed that they were close friends with my dad.  He always had time for the person that was in front of him.  One of the reasons, I never use a cell phone in front of a cashier is because I believe he would quite literally have a cow if I every ignored a human being that was in front of me.  I can almost hear him expressing his dissatisfaction if I had chosen to disregard any person in front of me.  My moods didn’t count; I believe he taught me that I was here to serve, to bring joy into people’s lives for just a moment.  A kind word, a sweet story, or a smile makes a difference.

Turn Table and record (vinyl) - Photo courtesy of Elizabeth Loebman

Turn Table and record (vinyl) – Photo courtesy of Elizabeth Loebman (who never stopped loving music or vinyl)

Music and Records

Another one of my favorite things about my father was his love for music.  He shared that love with everyone.  All of my friends loved that he knew more about vinyl and shared what he had with anyone that wanted.  But for me, I treasured how we used to take rides to any of his record stores and spend the entire time singing together.  On the rare occasion, that he could keep me out of my house for days on end, we would sing, share stories, and connect in ways that I will miss forever.  With him, I could find peace for as long as we were together.

Dad took me to my first concerts sometimes with my friends and often times with just the two of us.  He even took my friend Elizabeth and I to a KISS concert; he couldn’t hear for a week after that.  (And for the rest of his life, he never let me forget what he did for Elizabeth and I.) Our seats were center and close to the stage; I think he was as excited as we were to provide this opportunity for us.

My father introduced me to all music and many people in the music business.  I met musicians, sound men (they were all men back then), managers, producers.  I heard and learned about rock, country, bluegrass, pop, classical (although not much), and whatever was popular at any given moment.  My father taught me love of all music. Not only did he teach me, but he introduced music to everyone.  He was particularly kind and loving towards my friends and our neighbors on Pikeswood Drive outside Baltimore where I grew up.  Sharing music made my father feel happy and whole.

Today and every day, I remember how my father walked in the world and I realize that the apple didn’t fall from the tree.  My hope and my prayer is that I am nearly as loving and kind as my father was.

I miss him, but feel grateful for the gifts he did give me.

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