Monday, October 28, 2019

Idle Hands

Grief is . . . interesting. 

I thought I had simply handled Ma's death "well," but then the mack truck tootled along and flattened me. I had believed I was on the lofty madreiga of bypassing the boo-hoo-ness, but haha, haha, hahahaha. Joke's on me, sweet pea. 

One Friday, I awoke with the physical symptoms of grief as well as the emotional ones. I could barely move. My face felt numb. But it was Friday. Friday does not allow for barely moving or numb faces. 

Ma always said, "Keep on truckin'." 

So I kept on truckin'. 

At some point amongst the chicken trimming, vegetable slicing, kugel baking, baby feeding, baby napping, baby laundry, kitchen cleaning, plant watering, and various other tasks, movement became easy and feeling was restored to my face. I felt practically cheerful.  

My aunt, a mental health professional, once observed that there are no words in Yiddish for the psychological maladies our generation suffers from; her opinion is that no one had time for it way back when. 

In Europe, Babi didn't have to just trim the fat off chicken thighs; Babi had to select a chicken, take it to the shoichet, bring home the carcass, pluck the feathers, salt it, rinse it, salt it again (at least, I think two saltings are needed, right? I don't know), rinse it some more, and eventually be allowed to cook the bird. 

After all that, who had time for depression? 

I am definitely not saying I would prefer to be living a century ago in Hungary. I prefer indoor plumbing, thank you very much. But it reminds me that there is always a trade off. An unoccupied mind can be our own worst enemy. 

Well, there's always Netflix. 

Thursday, October 10, 2019

Sympathy vs. Destructive Advice

Facebook groups have their pros and cons, as does many things in life. For nearly every niche that exists, one can find a group or page that speaks to their giste. Some have said these groups were lifesavers as they attempted to seek support for a special needs child. Or more mildly, if one is on the search for a tried-and-true poached pear recipe. 

One negative, however, that I have noted: A woman will post a vent session on the group, even though her name is visible to other members. She’ll complain, perhaps, about her husband, something along the lines of an insensitive comment. 

A commenter posted: “Well, you are in an abusive situation, and you should leave him.” 

The venter posted a snippet of her life. A snippet. She didn’t post the good moments with her husband, because when she’s in a good place she doesn’t need to inform anyone. (To quote “Fiddler”: “If he was doing badly, he would write.”) 

Many of us have different ways of coping, but it usually involves a sympathetic ear. Perhaps this gal has nowhere safe in real life to vent, and turns to Facebook not for solutions, but for sympathetic noises. She was not asking for her issue to be fixed, certainly not in the form of “Upend your life, your children’s lives, and your extended family’s lives because as a random stranger, I saw all I needed to see from your 259 word post and I think that’s a good idea.” 

Marriage, like any other relationship, is unique to each couple. If she says, “My husband socked me in the jaw last night,” recommendations to seek help would definitely be warranted. But to push for divorce because he’s having difficulty seeing things his wife’s way? đŸ˜³

Type carefully.