Friday, January 24, 2014


"Take your right foot and ground it down in in the earth, then lift your left foot up."

As the standing balance pose starts in my yoga class, I am reminded of the teaching I once heard about balance. Balance isn't about stillness. It is a constant state of adjustment, a constant need to focus and concentrate, to adjust and readjust, to sway with the breeze. A slip in concentration or anything can cause the balancing act to fall.

I love this teaching, because it reminds me that no one, no matter how self-assured and "perfect" they appear to be, is standing still. We are all constantly adjusting our course, rebalancing ourselves, breathing and focusing. We're never simply standing still.

I'm feeling a lot of that right now. A lot of adjustments, shifts, balance changes. Sometimes I'm completely in focus, the balance seems to work. Sometimes I'm a little off and I have to touch my other foot down to the ground. Sometimes I have to sit down entirely! And then, since life, like yoga, is a practice, I just get up again and set my foot in the ground, take a deep breath, and try again.

August 2010
And then there's the other lesson of balance poses...the self-talk that goes along with them. The negative, especially when it doesn't work: What's wrong with me? Why can't I do this? How hard is it to stand on one leg? Of course, the other side: Nice try. That was longer than last time. It's okay. It's okay. Whatever I do is okay.

So much of this grieving business is also about that self-talk for me. Someone suggested that I might "not be okay" this week. Trust me, I'm probably not. But sometimes I am. It's not exactly definable -- how do I quantify or qualify how I'm doing today? I check myself out with my unofficial council of I okay today? Is this right? Is this? How about now?

Yesterday's yoga teacher stressed moving deliberately and slowly. There's a time for moving slowly and a time for moving quickly, she said, and the key is figuring out which time is which. Some things seem to be moving quickly. Life just goes, even if I'm not quite ready for things...that darn calendar. And some things move slowly...and that's okay. Sometimes I want to move more slowly...accomplish one thing at a time. Sometimes I can do more. Each day is a balance.

On the way home from preschool, Solly questioned me: "where is everyone?" I explained to him that Daddy was picking up Yael and that David was at Bubbie and Zeyde's house.

And then I waited for him to ask about Sammy.
But he didn't.
So silently, in my head, I thought about what I would answer.
And Sammy's at the cemetery.
No, I thought, that's not what I would answer.
Sammy is in our heads.
Sammy is in our hearts...Sammy is right here.
Florida, 2011
Balancing in 2010


  1. I love your teaching about balance. Yes. It's not stillness -- it's receptivity. Moving as needed.

    It makes so much sense to me that you would be sometimes "okay" and sometimes not. Maybe both at once. Maybe oscillating from instant to instant. How else could you be?

    I love the end of this post. Sammy is right here. Yes -- he is. He continues to be "right here" for all of us who are reading. Not a day goes by that I don't think of Sam. All of us who held him and y'all in prayer during his long awful journey -- we're still holding him; we're still holding you.

    Wishing you some peace this Shabbos.

  2. Wishing you peace and love this Shabbos, and every day. Thank you for including us in your balancing act.

  3. Sammy is always wherever you are. Always with you. Always.

  4. Sammy is in your heads and in your hearts always. You always say in perfectly. He's in my head and heart too every day. I pray for you to have peace in your heart this Shabbos.

  5. thank you for sharing. I continue to learn so much about patience and love from your writtings. shavua tov, from Israel.

  6. The pictures say everything, and your words say even more. A perfect balance. Sammy would be proud.

  7. From Korcula Island, Croatia...beautifully written. So many people carry your Sammy in their hearts.

  8. I am just finding your blog through a contact at St. Baldrick's, and I am so touched by what you are writing, particularly because after losing my son this past year, I feel so similarly so much of the time. There becomes a duality to life after losing a child: days when one seems strangely okay whilst also being absolutely not, days when one can experience such beauty and pain and even moments of joy all in a few breaths. I also understand that desire to, as your yoga instructor mentioned, move deliberately and slowly while time slips by. From what you're writing, however, you seem to be honoring that need to ease through your experiences now, and it really is the best thing to do.

    And, finally, I am so very sorry for your pain, for the loss of your precious boy. I hope you keep writing. I have found it to be a helpful tool in navigating the twists and turns of living with this profound loss.