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Posts Tagged ‘yahrzeit’

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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Note to Seeing the Door series:                                                                                                                                                                                                                               Wherever you go, possibilities surround you! By opening both your eyes and your heart, a door will always appear.

Have you ever noticed how many different types of doors exist in the world?  Nearly each and every door leads to an opportunity.  Some doors are physical; other doors are metaphoric.  All doors lead to opportunity.  

Don'tForget

Usually I am so thoughtful.  A day doesn’t go by when I don’t think about where I came from and about the life I lived with my family.  I remember the physical environment, the smells, the gifts (believe it or not), and the challenges.  I remember the music, the stories, and the tears.  Lots of darkness transpired in my childhood, but my father always brought music and stories into my life.  Until the day my father died just over 12 years ago, he filled my life with stories and music.

For those of you that know me well, you know that my childhood was scary in nearly every way, but there were moments when a story or music transformed my darkness into light.  My father loved both and transferred that love to me.  For that I am blessed.  After all these years, I am glad that I can find blessings somewhere in all the muck.

At this point, some of you might be wondering why am I bringing this up tonight.  Well, it is simply because over the last couple of days, I kept thinking I am missing my dad’s yahrzeit, the anniversary of his death.  Well today I finally did a double-checked and I realized that his yahrzeit was Thursday night and Friday.    Funny, I am a little stunned at the realization.  I could make any number of excuses, but perhaps the simple truth is that in this moment, I don’t care.  Perplexing is the only word that comes to mind.

After a lifetime of letting the memories of my childhood affect me and sometimes torment me for a period of every day, I have now moved forward.  While I remember, the memories no longer absorb my daily thoughts.  Wow. . . now that is a gift!

So, now that I remember, should I light the yahrzeit candle in memory of my father or should I just let go?  While I am not certain what I will decide, I feel some sense of peace knowing that a part of me has truly let go of the intense darkness.

For those of you that know my love of storytelling and music, take a moment and say thank you to Morry Bloomberg.  I am so grateful for the gifts he bestowed upon me by example.  Just by example, my father opened many doorways within my life.  My stories, like his stories have allowed me to interact with people wherever I go; there is no such thing as a stranger.

May Morry’s memory be a blessing for good.

Good-bye Abba – I am so sorry I forgot your yahrzeit.

Next Day’s Addendum:  Tonight I will take a moment and light not a traditional yahrzeit (memorial) candle for my father, but a candle I made . . . .  It feels like the right thing to do.  A special thanks to those of you that took the time to share your thoughts.

Abba'sYahrzeit

 

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