What happened II

Posted on February 2, 2007

(Continued from What happened I)

I stayed through Mother’s Day. When I’d planned the trip, it seemed like an appropriate thing to do, to be with my mom on the first Mother’s Day without her husband, my father.

But I was invisible. The entire time I was with my mom, from the time I arrived on the flight until I left to go home, not one single person acknowledged that I was in mourning. It was all about how much my mom hurt, how close my brother had been to my dad and how my brother was taking it really hard. My mom gave my brother things of my father’s. She gave me nothing. No one at any point offered to care for my children so I could take a nap or cry or even shower. I was on my own and alone, surrounded by people who didn’t see me.

On Mother’s Day, no one there wished me a Happy Mother’s Day. My husband sent me a text message. My brother paid the check for dinner, saying, well, you are a mother too. My own mother, my mother-in-law, my two aunts and two uncles who were there, my cousin, never acknowledged that I was a mother, and I had my children with me there at dinner.

My children and I flew home. I had arranged with my rabbi to have a minyan at shul to mark the end of shloshim, thirty days after my father’s death. Especially since I couldn’t have a shiva minyan earlier. A couple of friends said they’d make phone calls to announce it. It didn’t happen quite that way. For whatever reason, people didn’t get called. When the prearranged time came, there were four of us.

I felt horribly let down, even more unseen. I felt like no one cared, though I found out later people were sad they didn’t know or they would have come. It hurt, to have gone through everything with my mom and then not be supported by my own community. It still hurts.

I told my husband last night through my sobbing that if I don’t tell anyone about my depression, there’s still an illusion that people would help if they knew. I could console myself with that illusion. But if I tell people and they leave, then I don’t even have that illusion anymore.

I think talking with my friend, who was one of the four at the would-be-minyan, brought all this up again. Now I just need to figure out how to fix it.


  1. Ayelet

    I meant that your family seems to view you as a heretic re: their religion.

  2. Rivka

    My MIL had a lot going on in her own life, and I think the situation reminded her of losing her husband. It’s not fair, and it hurt but I don’t think it was personal.

    What do you mean by heretic?

  3. Ayelet

    That’s truly a shame. I’m disappointed in the shul. You really needed them to be there for you. I’m so sorry they didn’t come through the way they should have. Btw, what does your mom-in-law have against you? Did you meet your husband back in your hometown? Is he a (heretic) convert as well?

  4. Rivka

    tab: thank you. It’s part of why I don’t regret having much contact with my biological family. And after what happened with the would be minyan, the shul changed how they announced these things. I just wish I hadn’t been the catalyst.

    anon: I do try, thank you. It’s hard when the depression makes it hard or impossible for me to see those strengths. I will keep trying.

  5. Anonymous

    You are a warm, loving, and kind person, focus on your strengths.

  6. Anonymous

    I am just stunned at this story. I am so sorry you had to go through this when your father died. 🙁

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