Dear Rabbi Twersky,
I am a relatively young married girl in my early twenties. Recently, I lost my mother, a”h. My mother too, was in her early 50’s when she was niftar. Right after she was niftar I cried a lot. I missed her so much. Although I’m married (I am adding the part that I’m married because I’ve gotten comments like…at least you’re married, or…you have a husband…and the like.) I felt my life could not go on without her. She was so much a part of my life. I felt so dependent that it seemed like life just would never be the same. And life is not the same. I feel many times like a small child that still needs her mother. I myself had a baby a few months after my mother was niftar. And at times I feel like how could I be like my mother? A woman who was the ideal aishes chayil and mother. I need my mother to be here and show me the way!
Now, my question is, how come I cried so so much in the beginning and now as the year aveilus comes to a close — I seem not to cry at all! Now one would think that that’s a good thing. Obviously, as they say “time heals.” But no, I don’t feel healed in the slightest bit. I still feel the very same way I felt right after she was niftar. I feel I need her. I feel that life is not, and will never be the same. But why is it that I don’t cry anymore? I want to cry. I want to let it out and let my emotions go. I want it so badly. It feels so good to cry. That is the most comforting thing to do, to comfort myself.
Also, in two weeks the year of aveilus will officially b over. I am not looking forward to it at all. Not one bit. I want to mourn. It feels good. I’m even dreading it. I want to be able to mourn for my dear mother. I know that’s not what Hashem wants and that He wants us to go on and all that. But I just don’t feel ready for it. Please help me understand my feelings.
I also have another question that I wonder about. What exactly does my mother see? Does she know that I had my first child and how that experience was for me? That this baby girl was named after her? Does she see how my sister and her family is settling down her in America after living in Eretz Yisrael for 10 years? That my younger sister, the “baby” of our family will be getting married in a few weeks? Doe she see all of us, her family as we go about our daily lives? What exactly does she see up there?
P.S. My sister, also wrote to you recently. She told me that you spoke to my mother. So I guess you know what a special woman my mother was! Thank you for all the time you gave my mother, my sister and I.
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I knew your mother, and I disagreed with her insistence on keeping her illness secret from her children. That was her way of trying to protect you, but I think it was a mistake. Keeping it secret deprived you of the ability to be more supportive and to share the ordeal with her. Perhaps had she let you do so, you would not be going through the difficulty you now have,
I understand your feelings, but as the baal Tanya says, we must me able to have our intellect be master over our emotions. Halacha is very clear that one does not overdo aveilus, and oursefarim tell us that we must serve Hashem with simchah.
Your mother was a true tzadeikus, serving Hashem with mesiras nefesh. I am sure that she is in the bliss of Gan Eden and looks upon all of you, and enjoys the nachas of her grandchildren. But remember how she tried to spare you the agony of knowing her illness. If you are going to continue with sadness over her loss, it will cause her to suffer. The Midrash says that parents inGan Eden suffer when their children are in distress. You can do most for your mother by trying to be b’simchah.
Of course you miss her. When my zeide was in his 70’s, he was once found crying. “I miss my father,” he said. His father was the Zeide Reb Motele about whom I wrote a book by that title. He missed the guidance of that tzaddik and you miss the guidance of your mother.
When you are together with your siblings, you may share memories of your mother being a trueaishes chayil and gain strength from that. She is a great zechus for you.