I recently listened to an episode of the California Report that shared news about a Jewish bakery that closed in the Los Angeles Fairfax district after more than 77 years. I was so surprised to find myself sobbing. Over the closing of a bakery? Yes, I loved their baked goods, especially the “racetrack” which was a chocolate babka on steroids. When my friends would go to LA I would beg them to go there and bring me back enough to last a year. (Ok, only once or twice did I beg. And no, not enough for a year. Maybe for a month.)
The story had audio snippets of people sharing how important the bakery was to them; One woman shared how she would go there with her mother as she aged and they always got the same thing. Another reported how his somewhat distant father who worked there for many years, would bring back hot rye bread early in the morning after his shift. They would eat it together over a cup of coffee as one of their only ways to connect. There were many more stories of people connecting to one another at the bakery. Even writing this I feel myself crying about how the simplest of things, like sharing something from a special bakery with someone, can touch us very deep within our hearts and memories.
But I still wonder, what am I crying about? It can’t be about missing the racetrack (although I would love to find another like it!) Were the stories and memories a portal into my feelings about my parents’ yarzheit this week? Am I missing my mother or father knowing there are no more times to create new moments of connection? Am I worried about when my partner will no longer have any treatment options for her terminal, yet longtime, cancer? Am I grieving about this horrible war causing so much suffering?
I don’t know. Sometimes we just have to cry. I always teach grief attended to is lifegiving.*
So, please join me in letting the tears flow, for whatever is on your heart needing expression at this moment. I imagine there is plenty. The tears having been waiting to flow. Yes, again.
*Thank you Rabbi Shifra Tobacman for that expression.
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