Mourning for My Son on Tisha B'Av
I used to struggle to really mourn on this day. Now I don't even need to try.
When our six-week-old Avi died I emitted cries that I never knew existed. I had never experienced such anguish and pain.
That must be the pain that God feels for us since we've been exiled. Tisha B'Av is a day when we mourn all of our national tragedies, yet it is also a day when I am remembering my own personal tragedy. As I sit on the floor I have flashbacks to that last day when we came home from the hospital without our Avi. It's not that coming home without him was strange; we had been doing that for nearly six weeks. It was the knowledge that he wasn't in the hospital waiting for us to come back, that we would never take him home, that I would never hold him again.
That day we came home as mourners. We took off our shoes, tore our clothes, sat on the floor and cried. For a whole week that was our reality.
On Tisha B'Av I feel I've been given permission once again to return to that deep intense mourning for my son. Everyone is sitting on the floor, everyone has removed their shoes, we are all mourning the tragedies that have befallen our nation. Today is a day when I do not have to pretend to be okay. I can let myself feel the pain and allow myself to remember. I do not have to explain to anyone why I am mourning; I am no different than anyone else.
On Tisha B'Av I beg God to remember me, just as I am remembering His pain. I beg for our exile to end so that I can once again have my baby. I sit on the floor and cry.
I used to struggle to really mourn on this day; now I don't even need to try. I just need to give myself permission to remember, to mourn and be sad. On Tisha B'Av there is no one to comfort me as the mourner like there was in that first week after Avi died. Today everyone joins me in mourning.
On Tisha B'Av God is mourning the loss of His children. The destruction of the first and second temple that caused us to be in exile, the Spanish inquisition, Crusades, pogroms, the beginning of WWI, and more. I finally understand the pain that God feels in having lost his children. Yes, we as a nation are still here, we still serve God as best as we can, yet it is not the same.
I finally understand that pain. I don't have to try to imagine; I know this pain first hand. I let the tears flow, I let the memories come back. I just need a big cuddle with my baby, but he is gone. Instead I sit here and allow myself to cry. Tisha B'Av is a day when I do not need to pretend I am okay. I allow myself to fall apart and mourn my loss.