How handy that I come from a culture that has a whole set of rules for mourning. Sitting ‘shiva’ lasts for seven days, though you are supposed suspend that during the Sabbath. Your diet should include eggs and lentils, which, like meatballs, are round and symbolize the cyclical nature of life. During the seven days that you mourn, you should “suspend all worldly activities, and devote full attention to remembering and mourning the deceased.” Even God is supposed to have observed ‘shiva’ following the the great flood – “seven days for the destruction of the world.”
I mention this tradition because there’s a ton of mail and commentary kicking around about how things “aren’t that bad” or how we should “buck up and get back to work.” And to all of you who are already there, I say Hallelujah to your accelerated recovery and thanks for getting right back on that horse. But I’m going to sit out for a few more days and mourn. There’s nothing wrong with me and there’s nothing wrong with the idea that I should contemplate my loss.
Yeah, it might be tainted with bitterness and anger but hopefully reflection will bring me out to the other side. After all, it was optimism that made me put my shoes on and spend all that time on the campaign. I think the joy of involvement was apparent on the faces of everyone there. There was an incredible amount of good there.
But hey, Michael Moore, John Kerry, and especially George W. Bush, don’t talk to me about healing and reconciliation right this minute, okay. I’m in mourning until next Tuesday.
“At the conclusion of the Shiva, it is customary for the mourners to go out of the house and walk around the block. This act signifies, on one hand, the beginning of a return to the world of daily living, and on the other hand, a symbolic escorting of the soul of the departed.” Tuesday, I’ll go take a little walk around the neighborhood.
Read more about sitting shiva here.