Fourth Advent, and it’s raining

I looked back to what I wrote last year on this Sunday and realized that things are improving at least somewhat on the grief front. Still, the only thing that I ever think of when the theme of Advent comes up, is “mom, mom, mom,” this sort of keening chorus in the back of my mind. Some days even thinking the word, “mom” is enough to make me have to excuse myself and bury my face in a pillow. Given that this is one of the two seasons of Christianity emotionally “left” to me when I converted, there’s a bitterness to it all. I don’t want to listen to the usual music this year and I wonder if that will ever come back.

I’ve just sort of skipped Chanukkah. I forgot to buy the candles. Maybe on purpose. I was supposed to spend Friday night with the Peskies, but I wasn’t feeling well enough.

You never get back what’s gone, but maybe you get something new. Our Christmas was so hard last year, and although we didn’t discuss it, I think dad decided he didn’t want to repeat it. Mom’s presence is so firmly and subtly anchored in that place, something that was a consideration this summer when I was trying to decide whether to go to London and is turning into an ongoing problem for us. I still don’t really know if he can live in that place by himself. I also don’t know if he can leave it on his own. He has a “special friend” now, as he says, which I think is good. I don’t think they’ve gotten past first base, though, if what my brother reports is accurate. Then again, as dad was saying this summer, he hasn’t dated anyone since 1959. He needs physical affection, someone to hold him. He always has. I never know what to say. I understand the desire for sex fully and viscerally, but the need for physical affection is not something I feel all that acutely.

We’ll be talking about it soon. About six weeks ago dad decided he was coming. I admit to a certain fatigue that he’s coming for my entire break, but he is really lonely. He’s flying on Christmas Day and he’ll be here until January 2nd (when I have to go back to work, for first-year and transfer orientation). I’d been putting stuff off but yesterday finally I got around to making a plan and booking restaurants and hotels. We’ll be doing time here, and in Cedar Key and in St Augustine. He’ll be doing a day of deep sea fishing and one of swamping. We’ll walk along the beaches, I think. Maybe go to the Ringling Estate in Sarasota. Florida is not a great fit for him as amusement parks and golf courses are not his speed, but hopefully, the weather won’t be too bad, and we’ll manage to fulfill the days and not spend them talking only about mom or at least not only with grief. I don’t see Florida as our new Christmas tradition, frankly — I still feel like I don’t fit into this landscape at all — but maybe it is enough for now.

Sometimes I think I’ve spent my whole life waiting for one thing or another. There really is no end point.

Here’s Brian Sibley’s blog, with a neat Advent poem about the desire of the world for redemption, and the desire of G-d to redeem the world. To me this hope for divine redemption is one of the most important bridges between the Christianity of my childhood and the Judaism of my adult. Best wishes for a wonderful holiday to everyone who celebrates one this time of year.

Moshiach, come bimheyra b’yamenu — speedily in our days. E’en so, Lord, quickly come. Let the day of our redemption be soon.

~ by Servetus on December 21, 2014.

13 Responses to “Fourth Advent, and it’s raining”

  1. Not sure which is harder – grieving for those who’ve left this world or the ones who are still here but lost. Hope you and your dad have a happy holiday visit. The beach sounds like a great place to be right about now. Merry Christmas!

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  2. I hope you and your dad enjoy the time together. I’ve found there is no time frame for grief. Everyone does it in their own way in their own time. I’ll be thinking about you 🙂

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  3. I hope your time with your dad this holiday season goes well. Sometimes it’s best for a new place when there are so many memories in Wisconsin. Last year was not good for me either, to many memories and knowing that it was it, no parents. I do feel better this year, other than son1 has to work both days, but I think we have it worked out. Hopefully the weather stays nice so my MIL and BIL can come to visit. Happy Holidays!

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  4. {{{Hugs}}}

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  5. This is an emotional time of year for so many- working in mental health I have seen the pressure and anxiety building noticeably this week. It doesn’t help that last week was such a terrible one in Australia and overseas.

    I think you are wonderful hosting your dad for the whole holiday – having empathy for his loneliness and doing what you can to ease that*. This may not be the start of a new tradition but perhaps it is a step in the right direction for happier times ahead.

    *i can imagine you are horribly embarrassed by this praise but it needs to be said- you don’t need to do it but you are doing it anyway- good for you. Don’t argue!

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    • it feels like another transition year. Maybe because even though this is my fourth year here I still don’t feel like I live here yet.

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  6. ((( Serv ))) :*

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  7. Thanks for all of the good wishes!

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