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Vanishing Dreams

3

In the early morning hours before being hooked to the intravenous Pitocin, I dreamed that my Grandma Minnie was in the hospital room with me. We were chatting like old times. Just as she told me that I was going to have a baby girl—not a boy as I’d insisted—I was startled awake by a nurse entering the room to take my temperature. She touched my face with her cool hand; it was damp with tears, because even in my semi-conscious state I knew that my grandma was gone.

Remembering the dead can be comforting and discomfiting at the same time.  I spoke about this incongruity in my Yizkor sermon on Yom Kippur morning.  Yizkor, the memorial service, was introduced into the holiday liturgy by rabbis who understood that even in moments of celebration our joy is tempered by loss. Tomorrow the yizkor prayers will be recited again as the fall festivals wind down. Then the Jewish calendar will remain devoid of holidays for two months until Hanukkah.  We will return to the normal cycle of joy and sorrow, life and death.

Four months have passed—so quickly, like a vanishing dream—since Andrew’s untimely death.  I have been writing, moving forward, living with this loss, but Yom Kippur was the first time that I spoke about it publicly.  I share my words here, and invite anyone who is healing from loss to remember your loved one in a yizkor message. You can click on the title of this post to leave your comment. Let’s remember them together.

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Comments (3)

Within days after my mother died she came to me in my dream. Her departure made me officially an orphan. Being in her presence at least for the time being made me happy again, it eased my anxious mind. It was with my mother’s death that I finally understood my childhood and the overwhelming guilt I carried throughout my whole life. Growing up in the Holocaust aftermath, in communist Poland, I had no way of grasping that my parents were still struggling with what they had lived through, the aggression that almost destroyed them. They lived with the knowledge of what others were capable of doing and that Jews had been targeted and singled out. They went on knowing that they were the Holocaust survivors. My mother never forgave herself for leaving to save her own life and abandoning her family to the horrible deaths that followed. She never stopped mourning. My parents’ huge losses were more than I could fathom. Growing up in the shadows of the aftermath made me a witness to what had happened. Sometimes I was sympathetic. Other times I was filled with contempt. I was angry, and overwhelmed for being connected to my mother’s ongoing grief and the way she lived. It was Freud who made the observation that to grieve and to move on you have to know what you have lost. If you do not know what you have lost, mourning can turn into a permanent melancholy or depression. As a child I tried to understand how my parents’ family could just be gone, completely gone. My mother, visibly mourned her five nieces and nephews, ‘so young and innocent, they should be among the living’ is what she repeated often, with emotion. ‘They were all taken away and murdered’. I tried to grieve with her although I had never even seen any photographs. In truth, I could not comprehend how her family could just be gone. I have never seen any concrete images that my mother once had an extend family. I was frightened, confused and ashamed that I did not understand and believe my mother. In my heart I was sad, but in my mind I decided her family had never existed.
My mother comes to me in my dreams from time to time and I feel she is guiding me. But it is my first dream that left the deepest imprint on my physic.
The first thing I said to my mother was
“I want to meet all your relatives” her answer “It is not time yet”

In loving memory:Roma Talasiewicz-Eibuszyc and her family.

Suzanna, Thank you for sharing your perspective on when it’s “too soon.”

Within days after my mother died she came to me in my dream. Her departure made me officially an orphan. Being in her presence at least for the time being made me happy again, it eased my anxious mind. It was with my mother’s death that I finally understood my childhood and the overwhelming guilt I carried throughout my whole life. Growing up in the Holocaust aftermath, in communist Poland, I had no way of grasping that my parents were still struggling with what they had lived through, the aggression that almost destroyed them. They lived with the knowledge of what others were capable of doing and that Jews had been targeted and singled out. They went on knowing that they were the Holocaust survivors. My mother never forgave herself for leaving to save her own life and abandoning her family to the horrible deaths that followed. She never stopped mourning. My parents’ huge losses were more than I could fathom. Growing up in the shadows of the aftermath made me a witness to what had happened. Sometimes I was sympathetic. Other times I was filled with contempt. I was angry, and overwhelmed for being connected to my mother’s ongoing grief and the way she lived. It was Freud who made the observation that to grieve and to move on you have to know what you have lost. If you do not know what you have lost, mourning can turn into a permanent melancholy or depression. As a child I tried to understand how my parents’ family could just be gone, completely gone. My mother, visibly mourned her five nieces and nephews, ‘so young and innocent, they should be among the living’ is what she repeated often, with emotion. ‘They were all taken away and murdered’. I tried to grieve with her although I had never even seen any photographs. In truth, I could not comprehend how her family could just be gone. I have never seen any concrete images that my mother once had an extend family. I was frightened, confused and ashamed that I did not understand and believe my mother. In my heart I was sad, but in my mind I decided her family had never existed.
My mother comes to me in my dreams from time to time and I feel she is guiding me. But it is my first dream that left the deepest imprint on my physic.
The first thing I said to my mother was
“I want to meet all your relatives” her answer “It is not time yet”

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