Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Changing Vibrations

My siblings and I are in the process of going through our parents' belongings, sorting as best we can right now (not having the heart yet to thoughtfully disperse), and putting their house on the market.  They moved from the farm into town long after I was grown and gone, so their home doesn't have the sentimental attachment of the one I grew up in.  But they loved that house and even called it the enchanted cottage.  Moving from a small town was a statement of freedom that kept their marriage intact and strengthened the easy friendship they shared in spite of their differences. 

Before my parents both died, their things vibrated with life and meaning.  Every item my mother collected was meticulously arranged and re-arranged to reflect her own unique aesthetics.  My dad's guns were at peace and poised for attention, calmly waiting for the next cleaning, hanging proudly on display with the knowledge they were loved.  Now all of their things sit frozen like children in time out, stunned by the sudden aloneness with no idea what to do. 

Once the people are gone, it's like their stuff stops vibrating. 

Yesterday, a Jewish colleague randomly shared the story of her father's death and told me about how members of her faith observe a period of mourning.  According to her, a full 12 months are allowed for grieving the loss of a loved one, and within those 12 months, there are distinct periods of different activities and restrictions.  I don't pretend to fully understand the practice, but just hearing about it was soothing, and I knew - without saying anything - that she understood my sadness.  She could see it on me. 

Part of me doesn't want to go through my parents' things...ever.  I don't want to drive by their house and see, just like their farm, that the people are gone and the surroundings have lost their animation.
And like their belongings, I, too, am vibrating differently without them in the world.  My cells aren't responding quite the same, and I no longer have their energy to bump against to remind me where I came from.  November 19th will mark one year to the day that Dad died, which is my newly adopted mourning period.  Until then, to honor my parents and myself, I will quietly wear the vibration of loss.

Image from tabletmag.com


  1. This is so beautifully written... I am familiar with the Jewish year of mourning (I wish we could have waited a year to do anything!) and the ritual of sitting shiva for 7 days following the burial of a loved one. Our society is too eager to move on following a death. We are left alone to find ways to grieve and let go....

    1. Thanks Mermaid - of course you are familiar with the practice - I should have remembered. It feels good to let myself simply grieve without feeling like I have to be over it, A-Okay or anywhere near normal. Not that I was ever that normal, but still...always enjoy seeing you here. :)

  2. Beautifully expressed, Josephine.

    I wish you and your siblings well as you pace yourselves and gradually come to terms with the new world you are in.

    Best wishes, Anna in Edinburgh

    1. Anna, thank you for your kind comment. Yes, pacing ourselves will be key, and every step we take right now feels like it's too soon, too fresh. Then again, perhaps we can infuse life into things that were loved one last time. Thankfully, I have siblings that I not only love, but like very much. Such a gift.



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