Saturday, September 20, 2014

Loss, Empty Space, and Community

by Miki Kashtan

[Editor's note: This piece was posted on Miki's new blog site today. We are also posting it here for any subscriber to this site who hasn't subscribed to the new site. To do so go to this page and put your email into the Subscribe to Miki's Blog via Email box at right. This is the last item we will post on this site.]

It’s been about two months since I posted a piece of my writing on this blog. I was deeply immersed in supporting my sister Inbal on her final journey, which ended with her death on September 6, 2014.

One day I will find the words to write about Inbal here. (You can read her obituary here.) Over the last seven years I’ve on occasion mentioned Inbal and her ongoing challenging of living with cancer. I don’t recall writing in any significant way about what it has been like to accompany her way of facing cancer. I kept it mostly separate, except when it seemed almost inhuman not to mention it. Now, having accompanied her, being so profoundly involved, and learning as much as I have, and anticipate continuing to learn, it is a way to reweave my personal experiences and my work in the world.

 The period of sitting Shiva, the Jewish custom of gathering community for seven days after someone dies, is over. I am now ready to slowly emerge into the next phase of my life, and writing about this period is a small step in that direction.