Repentance


Tonight begins the holiday of Yom Kippur – so, “Happy Yom Kippur?”  Nothing too happy about a holiday that starves, tires, and tortures (no coffee!) but woo hoo… I guess.

Tonight and all day tomorrow are about repentance and forgiveness and renewal – things I need so much, but I can’t seem to find my Christmas  Yom Kippur spirit.  I had a friend once who struggled with a stressful year and was having trouble finding the joy in Chistmas – no matter how much decorating was done, the joy was missing.  This friend reported that late at night, upon stringing lights in the bathroom, of all places, that familiar Christmas joy started to emerge. Since Target seems to be out of Yom Kippur string lights for some reason, I suppose I am on my own.

We are taught to ask forgiveness from the people we have hurt in the previous year – but what if I am the person I have hurt the most? I have tortured myself to the point of no return with my regrets, my fears, my anguish, my worry, my despair.  This year, that began so joyously with Max’s Bar Mitzvah and Sophie’s successes, has beaten me into a someone I can’t recognize. The remaining part of the year full of surgery, hospitals, recovery, decisions and the unknown has been too much. I can’t remember what it felt like to not blame myself  – to not feel angry at the world and to not want to scream. I don’t even know what I am screaming about anymore – I just feel like screaming. I want things to improve and I constantly feel responsible for failing to make that happen. I feel sorry for what has become of us.

I want so much for Max to be and feel better – but he isn’t there yet. The fourth month has not been as magical as promised and he has been sick since August with some kind of virus/cold/infection that 3 rounds of antibiotics, steroids, cough medicines and home remedies cannot seem to kick.  He has lost almost a month of therapy due to the exhaustion of school starting and this illness. He is doing the best he can, but I feel sorry for having to push him. Even on Yom Kippur there is no amount of forgiveness that he could offer me, that would make up for the pain that I have caused him.

Sophie has been – I don’t even know what the word is – a savior, an angel, a first responder.  She has taken on so much responsibility for Max at school. She drives him to and from, helps him in, helps him with his locker, meets him to make transfers, picks him up from the ground, runs interference, clears the hallways and the pathways and removes anyone who gets in his way.  Teachers and the principal have consulted with her in our absence and together they have made decisions about how to help him. She has worried about him when she should be focused on nothing but herself. I am so proud of her for her strength, but I feel sorry for this burden that she carries.

No one has felt the wrath more than Hun. He carries his quiet sorrows and the stress of keeping us going. He tries to balance my crazy with his sanity and though he won’t admit it, I know he has reached the end of his rope.

In these regrets for hurting the people I love the most, for the hurt that I have done to myself, for the pain I have caused, even if done with the best intentions, I realize that I don’t even want forgiveness. Forgiveness implies that somehow it is ok to have done something hurtful.  I want redemption.  I want validation. I want to be shown that all this pain has a purpose. I want it to have meaning and an end. I want this year to have some triumph, not just the resolve of forgiveness.

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