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Facing Shiva: I Don’t Like Being that One

I don’t like being the one
Who others are supposed to take care of
I don’t like being the one
Whose emotions might be out of control,
I don’t like being the one
Who they’re sending the Brent’s Deli tray to
I don’t like being that one –
The caretaker, that is my role

I don’t like being the one
Who must light a big shiva candle
I don’t like being the one
Who feels drained so much of the time,
I don’t like being the one
To whom they address beautiful condolences notes
I don’t like being that one
I do the caring – that role is mine

I don’t like being the one
Whose daddy’s gone back to the earth now
I don’t like being the one
Whose “new normal” now has death in it too,
I don’t like being the one
Who now sits shiva, says Kaddish
I’m supposed to be the communal leader,
Who responds with the strong Brich Hu

I don’t like being the one
Who might get tired listening to others
I don’t like being the one
Who feels alone without strength to reach out,
I don’t like being the one
Who doesn’t call others to check in
As I worry I’ll feel compassion fatigue
And my own sense of caring drought

I don’t like being the one
Contemplating what was and what isn’t now
I don’t like being the one
Who must just go with the emotional flood,

But they say I must lean into it
As it washes over me
And accept that in pain
I’m still loved

3 comments

  1. Debbie Cutter says:

    I just kept shaking my head in emotional agreement with every feeling written on the page
    I feel your pain
    My experience is that it’s a wave that just washes over you, one minute you’re fine and the next you’re cryiing, sobbing , then as quickly as it came, it passes
    There’s no choice but to ride the waves
    and try to let others pick up the heavy loads temporarily. You give so much love and you are loved so much in return, ride that wave too.

  2. Gary / Starr Barnbaum says:

    You may not like it, but when it’s your turn, all that must be accepted graciously as all of us have..Yes, you do have a special position, but even that ends at critical points. Gary and Starr

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