Tag Archives: love and loss

Eyes to See

16 Feb

*disclaimer:

I carry the burden of the loss of my son daily. It doesn’t matter if I’m joyful, silent, tired, hungry, irritable, sassy, asleep or awake–the weight of grief is upon my soul always. Yet today I will sidestep my own grief progression to take on that of another.


If you have been following me through the several years I have been writing here at Bentrivka.com then you will undoubtedly have picked up a few clues about my love of riding a bicycle. I am quite grateful for the ability to ride and the area in which I live with the many bike trails offered. My physicality is not something I take for granted, in that I recognize even the fine motor skills at play that make it possible for me to do the activities I love.

Well this past weekend I had the time, inclination and need for a long coastal bike trail excursion. You see I had a migraine, and for some reason riding my bike makes me think the migraine will subside naturally. It doesn’t but I still give it a try even though I usually end up needing aspirin and an ice-pack anyway. It was a bright sunny day and the sun felt great, with its warmth upon my skin, while the cool of the breeze maintained my body temp at a perfect level. I had my big dark sun glasses on and of course a spaghetti strap black dress (typical Rivka riding attire). I had a long sleeve Brian Bent custom t-shirt on over my dress and a jacket around my waist “just in case” it was needed (always carry a jacket, that’s my motto). I also had a pair of black capri leggings on under my dress because the breeze was a bit cool for my reptilian tendencies.

In cooler weather you would find me bedecked with a wool sweater on under the jacket (not tied around my waist but on me proper and zipped up to the collar). I would have a wool scarf tied around my neck or draped over my head and around my neck to both keep my ears and entire head warm. I might also have on gloves and a wool beret. All of this is quite normal…normal that is for me!

I was well prepared for my bike ride a few days ago except for one thing. I should have worn a visor to prevent the sun from shining down directly upon my eyes. With a migraine my eyes become quite sensitive to light and though I had my dark lens glasses on, the glare still penetrated without a covering. Realizing half way into the ride that the bright sun was exacerbating the headache pain, I took my long sleeve black shirt off of my body and placed it on my head, overhanging my sunglasses just slightly with the arms tied around the back of my neck. This helped tremendously, it blocked the direct light and I was able to continue the ride in more comfort.

I was pretty sure I looked ridiculous but that is never cause to stop me from arranging my dress in form or fashion of my choosing. So the looks and constant glances from other athletic passerby’s I took in stride. Until…

A man passing by me, going the opposite direction on his bike, looked at me and point blankly said, “Go Home!” And he kept riding. Go home? Did I really hear him correctly? Could he really have been so ignorant and stupid to yell that to me? “Go Home,” he said.

Even as I write this here my soul grieves and I sigh deeply. This man, this person whom knew me not, looked my way and saw a Muslim woman. The stupidity of his comment to a woman with a head-covering on while exposing her chest, shoulders and arms is just over the top ludicrous. And for some reason of which I cannot fathom, he thought it right and justified to tell her to “go home.” Now please understand, I am not grieving my own story here. Rivka (me) is not a Muslim woman wearing a head covering because of her faith and enduring the sneers and jeers from others as result. Make no mistake, I am not offended because of something that was said to me. I am deeply disgusted that anyone would cast such hatred to another…ever. My heart breaks for the unjustified (and ignorant) discrimination that continues still today. And right here in this supposed liberal la-la land in which I live called, California. My story, too, comes on the heels of my husband sharing with me that at our local shopping mall the daughter of a friend wore a head scarf and was told to “take that thing off” by other shoppers. A story I was disinclined to believe, until my own bike ride experience.

I wish I could step in and “take the hit” for another in every case of discriminatory attack. I would take it because it’s a third-party pain making the impact just slightly more bearable. I wake up white and able which, in this day, puts me at an advantage in dodging preconceived scrutiny. But then I remember that the European Jews during the time of Hitler were white, able and some of them even fought for their country during WWI. Ship me back in time and my “advantage” subsides. Oh world we have come so far in technological progress, have we really grown so little as a people?

Sorrow I have. Anger I have too; but hatred is not a part of me. I will stand firm against it. Using my voice and keeping the love of the Lord in Heaven the governor of my soul, I will stand against it. And with this proclamation comes the real challenge, to not hate the hater.

bentrivka

 

The Fringes

11 May

Today is the day set aside to recognize motherhood.  Mother’s Day, as it is so named.  As a mother in mourning I think most of my loved ones expected this day to be a hard one for me.  As it turns out, it is no more difficult than the everyday I make it through my sorrow and move onto the next.  As it turns out this day is most difficult for my daughter, the sister to my fallen son.  This is the day the two of them, TOGETHER, would plan and execute the details of ensuring I was without doubt of their devotion and honor.  I must say, they were quite good at it…my daughter still is.

But if the sorrow has hit anyone more than the other, today is her day.  Her brother, her partner in all things familial is missing from her equation and, for her, there is no way to avoid his absence this day.

For me–no matter where my children are I am still a mother.  Whether I can be with them or not, on this particular day, I am still a mother.  And in being a mother, my society honors me–just look at all the store sales happening this weekend in honor of this day.  Granted, being showered with blessings from my own children is not comparable on the same scale as saving a few bucks–it trumps the monetary gain tremendously!  But point being, there are no guarantees of being with ones children on this particular day and yet as a mother I still have opportunity to be acknowledged.  Not so for the sister, left hanging out on the fringes because the obvious position of the mourning mother obfuscates the internal bleeding of the sibling.  Of course I am receiving text messages, emails and calls reflecting supportive thoughts for me on this day, but she is not.

And now she is left to navigate the sentimentality of maternal love while being barraged with sorrow.  Her quandary’s resemble something like this:  Does she show her mother her angst and risk causing burden to her on what she is accustomed to believing is a “special day for her mom?”  How is she to push through the vacancy left by her dearly departed when this day keeps shoving her loss in every step of her path?

To add insult to injury, the death of our beloved Cole will make it’s first anniversary mark this coming week.  May 17, 2013 we received the dreaded news.

Today my husband is somewhat on the fringes as well.  He has lost his mom a few years ago and his grandmother shortly afterward, both of whom were two of his biggest fans.  He is quite without a large portion of his extended family, and yet today he is supposed to do two things, honor his own mother and honor his wife, the mother of his children.  Now he, too, is stuck with a day that serves as a great reminder to the many losses he is suffering.

My sister, Auntie to my children, is also the overlooked mourner.  The sufferer on the fringe who sits in the shadow of her sisters pain.

This is a tough day, to be sure.  But today, as a mother, I honor those who are not privileged to have a day which recognizes them in the manner that Mother’s Day recognizes me–in my mothering and in my loss.  My heart goes out to you, the sister, the aunt, the grandmother, the friend, the husband–my soul loves you.

Today, with this post, I honor Esther Bent, Brian Bent and Leah Smith–

Happy Mother’s Day!

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