Bereavement and Grief

“It took me two years to recover from the death of my father, of blessed memory. To this day, almost twenty years later, I am not sure why. He did not die suddenly or young. He was well into his eighties. In his last years he had to undergo five operations, each of which sapped his strength a little more. Besides which, as a rabbi, I had to officiate at funerals and comfort the bereaved. I knew what grief looked like…Yet knowing these things did not help. We are not always masters of our emotions… I felt an existential black hole, an emptiness at the core of my being. It deadened my sensations, leaving me unable to sleep or focus, as if life was happening at a great distance, and as if I was a spectator watching a film out of focus with the sound turned off. The mood eventually passed, but while it lasted I made some of the worst mistakes of my life.”

Studies in Spirituality, pp. 205-206