Thursday, February 19, 2009

Here Comes Lent

As I mentioned in the last post, I have some planning to do, and some decisions to make, regarding the memorial for my father and his parents. I hesitate even to call what I plan to do a "memorial," since what I have in mind is beyond any ritual I've personally experienced (though certainly it's been done.) But this is something I move towards gladly, in a way -- I want to make something whole. What direction do I take, though? It seems obvious (and I must excuse myself to my non-religious friends again) that with Ash Wednesday coming next week, I might look to the Lenten season for some context. Given the weather and other factors, this memorial won't happen until after Easter anyhow.

Thinking again about my stepmother's request. She wants to attend the memorial. What is the right thing to do?
Or, the least-wrong thing?
Do I want her there, when she is in no small part the cause, having excluded me from most of the family grieving process?
If I say No, she cannot come, am I determining never to forgive her? Will that forever close the door between she and I?
If I say Yes, will I wind up feeling cheated (again) by her, in that it's hard for me even to breathe in her presence? (Some explanation for that might be in order, but another time.)
Must I have some big therapeutic confrontation with her, in order to make this process perfect? I don't really want to do that.
Is it possible for this process to be perfect?

Why do I want to do this, what is it for? The ceremony, I mean -- Clearly, this will not be some neat-and-tidy resolution to all the years of alienation, fear and sorrow. A couple years of child abuse followed by two decades of excommunication aren't erased by this act -- but I don't want to carry that crap around with me anymore, I really don't. I want to be done with it.

It's a step in the grief process, I believe -- a step I've only recently come to identify. There's a story to this discovery, naturally. It involves, peripherally, the Jewish custom of placing stones on the grave of the departed.


Rachel said...

Oh dear.
No no no.
My whole insides scream no.
Do you want her there? Do you even hear yourself? No you are not forever banishing her to unforgiven. You are doing something for yourself. For YOU. Good gravy sister, love yourself and give yourself the gift of unrestricted grief, surround yourself with people who adore you, who love you, who do not shut doors on you.

OK, do what you need to dear. I'll get off my soapbox. Can you tell I have feelings about grief and healing?

Prayers for your pondering and discerning.

Jennifer S. said...

Hi Rachel, thank you for the thoughts and prayers. Another friend also gave similar advice (two friends actually) and I'm taking all into consideration. I'll continue to work this out online...thanks again, for your support. js