Sunday, December 25, 2005

Cannot be Fixed Completely

I recently encountered a number of people, none of whom were bereaved, where discussions led to the topic of the heart and mind as they pertain to bereaved parents. Many of them were highly intelligent people. After some of these relatively brief informal discussions, I left feeling uneasy. Some spoke of the great need to talk about Hashkafa topics as a means of comforting bereaved parents. I tried to tell them that the problem with Hashkafa is that it doesn't help. That is not entirely true. There is a place for Hashkafa and sometimes it can even keep us focused. Yet something about that idea bothered me.

Somehow, I felt that they weren't really "getting it" and after much thinking, I came up with a hypothesis. All of the attempts and positions that were proposed were all a way of fixing the problem. These individuals,not bereaved themselves, were looking for answers. This "problem", that of losing a child is one which will remain broken. What bereaved parents need are tools not antidotes. This particular problem is one which will never be fixed. Never entirely healed. A scar, a painful one, will always remain. Bereaved parents need tools to get by, to lead normal, productive and (I dare say) happy lives. Yet the problem will always remain, lingering at the surface.

There are no easy fixes. There aren't even hard fixes. Our mission is to move on in spite of the fact that this problem will never completely go away. It will get better if you let it but neither time nor with any hashkafa insights will completely heal the wound. This is a difficult and uneasy reality and human nature is not to accept it. The first step to real healing is to accept this principal. The goal is how to ride a car with 3 wheels not figure out how to put the 4th wheel on.

This idea works hand in hand with the permanence of death. Once we accept the permanence of the loss and the fact that it will always be "broken", we can begin to heal. Because we do not want this reality to be true, we resist accepting it. We convince ourselves that denial will somehow alter reality. Yet, as we travel through the grief process, acceptance is almost inevitable reality. Until we take this bold step, we can never expect to move on.


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My Goal is to post at least 2x per week on Sunday and Wednesday.