Monday, September 28, 2009

Yom Kippur

today was yom kippur a jewish holiday
not of celebration
but of observance
contemplation
and introspection
well it actually began last night
this year though
we are not going to temple
we are not going to services
in fact
we are not fasting

our oldest daughter
our biggest baby
has been in a mental health
residential treatment center
for 7 weeks
and
instead
we decided to spend time with her
all five of us
the importance of Yom Kippur
is to atone for your sins
to repent for all your wrongdoings
to ask forgiveness to all that you wronged
in the past year
so
in essence
one is supposed to forgive all others
forget the past
erase the hurts and abuse
and move on
began a new life
a new year
and get sealed in the book of life for another year

during this
holiest of holidays
the 24 hours of yom kippur
one is supposed to fast
not eat and not drink
the whole time
and the reasons vary
some say to punish oneself
some say to not be concerned with
clothing
eating
drinking
just focus on yourself and no others
to be hungry
to feel pain
I have also heard that it is the closest to death
that you can get
while one in healthy
that is why anyone who is sick
ill or otherwise not capable
is excused from fasting

so yesterday
we picked up our daughter from
her treatment center
and all 5 of us
had dinner together
we laughed
we cried from tears
of laughter or joy
we went back to our hotel room
and made a new treatment plan
for Karen’s return on Wednesday
this Wednesday
so happy
we made goals
for Karen
for her sisters
and her parents
how we will all work together
to start anew
to make this family work
to support one another
to believe in ourselves
and each other
it was a fabulous
experience
that I was amazed to see
come together
after such a short time
when just a few month ago
I never would have though possible
we were experiencing our
own yom kippur
forgiving one another
discussing the wrongs of the past
and figuring out new ways to make things new
creating a new life for all of us
together
as a family
of five
our family of 5
our perfect
well, not so perfect
but in our own way
perfect
family
our perfectly
imperfect family
just the way it is

so we all laughed
played
watched tv
and made fun of
daddy falling aleep
on the bed
with his glasses on
and snoring and not waking up
the laughter between the girls
was music to my ears
the smiles on their faces were
stars in my own dark skies
i have had in my head these
last few weeks
I couldn’t get over the fact that
this nightmare
was about to come to an end!

since my husband fell alseep on
Karen’s bed
I was lucky enough to get to sleep with her
I had her body by me all night
I couldn’t stop touching her
she held my hand and talked
about her fears of coming home
and the fear of becoming the person
she used to be that scared us
and herself
I told her that she had the skills and tools
now to have the confidence in herself
that she never had before
that like riding a bike
when she was 5 she would
continually fall off and cry
thinking she would never learn to ride a bike
but now if she fell off
she would just get back on
becaue she knew she could do it
it is similar
she has the knowledge
the power
the coping skills
the patience
the belief in herself
that she can take control
of the situation

this morning
when Bethany said she was not going to eat
she was going to fast
because unlike the rest of us
she was taking this holiday seriously
then I told her the meaning
of the fast that I liked the best
that it is close to death
and then you begin a new life
fresh and clean
with no regrets
I explained to her that
we have experienced a
*death* in the last 7 weeks
we have had the death of our family
we have struggled
we have almost given up hope
we have lost our appetite
we have lost a beloved family member
we are starting a new today
with a new life for our family

nothing can compare to what we
have experienced
but our family therapy appt that morning
was to be the beginning
of our new life
our new family
our new hope
that we could start

our appointment went so well
it was spitual in the way that
a usual Yom Kippur service
would not have been like
to me that day

this was more important than anything else right now
the 5 of us in the room
with the therapist who has helped
our daughter disover her special qualities
that make her so special
and loving
and how she has worked so hard to get where she is
and how we all have suffered so much
without her

I told the story of Yom Kippur
and how special and meaningful it was
that our last family therapy
was on that day
that we all know
but sometimes forget
that the most spiritual
and meaningful jewish moments
don’t need to happen in a temple
they just need to happen in a community
where everyone is aware that G-d
is present and there with us at that moment