Loss and Mourning
Last week, Christy Svanemyr, a beautiful soul and very respected colleague was killed in a tragic accident in San Francisco. She died leaving a whole community who loved her mourning. But what touches me so deeply is that she also leaves behind her husband and 1 year-old daughter.
The scale of that kind of loss in her family’s life, in her daughter’s life, leaves me speechless and heartbroken. It happened on the first day of the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah. The Jewish New Year is traditionally the time when Jews around the world pray to be written and sealed in the book of life (who will live another year.)
The tragedy, mingled with praying for life for the coming year, has created a magnifying lens for me to see and feel how very much I do want to live this next year. How much I want to continue to watch my children grow up, to make new family memories, to learn, even to grow older and feel creakier.
I can’t find meaning in Christy’s death. I don’t believe there could ever be a master plan where a loving, radiant 35-year old mom is suddenly killed. I can’t imagine a world where that “needed” to happen.
All I can do is be part of a community that mourns that loss – feels it deeply – and I can not ignore the wake-up call to pay attention in my own life. I know that even as you read these words, that my deep sadness won’t be your wake-up call. It’s hard to hear someone else’s alarm with all the walls that separate us these days.
I have only two hopes in writing this. One, that someone reading it, might just hear their own signals, even the quieter ones, and pay closer attention. And two, that this writing becomes not just a wish, but a promise to myself: I will recognize the reverberation of sadness in my heart as a call towards greater mindfulness and gratitude in my own life
Can you help? If you’ve ever been in mourning, or are even grieving now – what thoughts/ideas/practices have helped you?