The past year my adored grandfather passed away. Whatever else I may think of, or remember about this year, it will always be colored with the sorrow of this loss. My life will always be split into the “before” and the “after”. A week after his funeral, shiva behind us, I stood on a grassy patch of the cemetery where he found his final resting place, and I still couldn’t fathom that he’s there.
When I entered my grandparents’ home and sat on his futon bed to try and feel his presence. “Where are you?” I think. I ran my hands across the upholstery, reach for his computer keyboard. I touched his glasses and picked up his cell phone, and it still had unread text messages from friends. “Hope you’re doing better,” they say. “Call me when you can,” they plead. He’s not better. He won’t call.
The only thing I want in the new year is for my family to attempt to heal. Healing is a strange, non-linear process. Just when you think you’re healing, you realize you’re not. One day, I was gingerly picking out tomatoes at the grocery store, feeling fine, looking normal – breathing in -breathing out. The next day, no, the next minute, I’m squeezing the same tomatoes ruthlessly in my hand; juice flowing through my fingers, tears flowing through my eyelashes. Why wasn’t he better? Why won’t he call?
Whatever else this new year will bring, may it bring healing; to my bereaved grandmother, my mom, my sister, myself, our spouses, and all our friends, and relatives. May my grandfather’s soul find peace, and may his memory be a blessing.
Alla Umanskiy is a Jewish mom, wife, writer and amateur runner, living, working and raising a family in the Atlanta area.