Shloshim was over more than three weeks ago. That’s the first 30 days of mourning in Jewish practice. As a mourning spouse, my obligation to say Kaddish every day has ended, and there are no restrictions on my activities.
It seems soon. J and I had 33 years together, 10 of them with the added partner of Alzheimer’s disease. Now I’ve had 30 days plus three and a half weeks and normal life is supposed to resume?
What is normal? In addition to losing J, I have ended one relationship and started another. For the first time since 1985, I am the only one on my lease. I have no one I’m obligated to care for. It is liberating and terrifying at the same time.
Of course I still feel the pain of the loss, but Judaism recognizes that the passage of time is able to ease and heal the pain. The shiva was the worst, the shloshim was very hard, and this stage is bad. In time, it will get better.
As time goes on, I remember the Alzheimer’s J less and the old J more. Last year, I asked our kids to take J to a Christmas light show she loved. They never got around to it. I was angry then, but now I remember the year when I couldn’t find J and called her. “Where are you?” I said in my concerned voice. “I’m at the light show,” J said with glee.
It is more than enough that she took herself there and experienced her own joy. I try to take from that example and enjoy what comes my way, regardless of what others think.