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The Day After Shiva: Excruciatingly Difficult

Excruciatingly difficult
That’s what I’d call it
Just walking into a room today

Excruciatingly difficult
That’s how it felt…
(What a ridiculous thing to say!)

All I had to do
To get in
And out
And make it through
Was to

Drive the car
Pass the time
Park the car
Inside the lines

Get out of the car
Walk into the room
Accept the hugs
Push through the gloom
And sometimes even to talk

Listen to others
Control my fears
Walk to my seat
Deal with the tears
And sometimes even to talk

Go back in the car
And leave the place
Figure out what to do next
Find my next safe space
And sometimes even to talk

In a world like we have
With problems galore
The death of my father
Still counts, for sure

Yet a long life he lived –
So how silly it seems
That this is excruciating –
Doesn’t that sound so extreme?

But yes, that was the truth
And I felt like a freak
On this first day of Shloshim
After my dad’s Shiva week

It was

(Then there were things
I had to attend to
Eat, take a nap –
But, well,
I did make it through!

(One day down
The rest of our lives
Without him
To go)

*Shiva refers to the seven days immediately following the funeral when a mourner is surrounded by community

**Shloshim refers to the 30 days after the funeral when a mourner slowly expands the place within the community

Explore more poetry about mourning Papa (my dad, Ken Kipnes).

Watch my videos about mourning

Enjoy more of my spoken word poetry


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