For years I have puzzled over what the “universe” is trying to tell me, when every other year for the last six years, a family member (close or more distant) dies on Tisha b’Av. It’s a day when we remember all the tragedies that have happened to the Jewish People. Was losing Ronni and losing Allison that kind of tragedy? What is the significance of losing Allison’s brother-in-law, Jonathan, on Tisha b’Av two years ago? Is it superstitious of me to be apprehensive, since this is another even-numbered year?
I have no answers to these questions.
There is still a deep sadness in me that wells up every summer as these anniversaries pass. It lasts for weeks and weeks, and comes in waves. I don’t try to suppress the sadness, perhaps out of love and respect for my first love and for my first child, or perhaps because it makes me feel closer to them for a little while. I try to honor them in little ways, and take the time to think about them. Memories return, some of which make me laugh, and some make me weep. I will go to synagogue services this year on Tisha b’Av because I feel I belong there. All of this will temporarily overwhelm the happiness in the other parts of what has become my life. It’s not that I cannot feel joy or love, it’s that the tears blur those feelings. I remain deeply wounded and have not fully healed. Perhaps I never will.
At Allison’s funeral four years ago, our friend Mair came up to me and said, essentially, that she hoped that the “universe” would now stop messing with us and leave us in peace. From your mouth to G-d’s ear, Mair. Amen.