Grief Is A Tear In Our Hearts and On A Mourner’s Ribbon

I have not written a blog post in a few weeks because our family sadly had been dealing with my husband’s brother’s illness and death. I had known my husband’s brother Burton, since I was 19 years old. As Burt said, “I had a great run!” and he did! His life was filled with a large and loving family and copious personal and professional accomplishments.

It is Jewish tradition that mourners express their broken-heartedness after the death of a loved one, by tear their clothing or pinning on a torn ribbon, a ritual act called keriah. The bereaved usually wear their ribbons or torn clothes for the first seven days after the funeral, which are an intense period of mourning called shivah. Some people wear their ribbons for a full 30 days after the funeral.

Before the the funeral service and the a traditional prayer for tearing the ribbon, the funeral director, who was a friend of Burton’s, passed out the little black mourner’s ribbons to our Glazov family members, which he pinned on the right side of their chests. I was standing next to my husband when he pinned the ribbon on  Jordan. Then I said, “Alan, I would also like to wear a ribbon because Burton has been my brother for almost 50 years. I know is not the custom for in-laws to wear the ribbon, but the people who thought up that custom did not know Burton or me, our relationship, and our love for one another.”

Allen respectfully brought me a ribbon, which I will continue to where for 30 days.

My husband always says I am a terrier. Yes I am fierce and feisty. I believe it is essential to stand up for ourselves and speak up when our hearts are broken, we are in distress, we are not feeling well and need care, and we think others are not listening to what we need to say. I am sure we all could add to this list.

The mourner’s ribbon I wear represents the grief and the tear in my heart because I fiercely loved my brother Burton!

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  1. Gwen Blakley Kinsler on November 25, 2013 at 8:04 pm

    My sincerest sympathies to you and yours, Sheila!

  2. Jeff Lewis on November 26, 2013 at 7:59 am

    Sheila, I’m so sorry for your loss. Please accept my condolences for you and husband.

    • sheila on December 2, 2013 at 1:49 pm

      Dear Jeff. Jordan and I appreciated your condolence message and your thoughtfulness. Thank you, Sheila and Jordan

  3. Laurie Buchanan on November 26, 2013 at 8:35 am

    Sheila – I am so sorry for your loss. I was not familiar with this tradition before reading this post. I find it honoring and respectful.

    • sheila on December 2, 2013 at 1:52 pm

      Dear Laurie. Thank you for your condolence message. I also feel that cultural and religious traditions can respectful and help to honor a loved when they have passed. Sincerely, Sheila

  4. Lori on November 27, 2013 at 11:29 pm

    I am sorry for your lost my friend. I loved reading your blog, my Dad passed 11/3/13 & we too are a little unconventional in how things are being done. Of course my good friend comes through with “It’s OK” Thank You

    • sheila on December 2, 2013 at 1:55 pm

      Dear Lori. Please, accept my sincerest condolences for our father’s passing. I did not know about your family’s loss. I am glad to know that my post was helpful and helped you feel “OK”. Sending you hugs, dear friend, and I will give you a call. Love, Sheila

  5. sheila on December 2, 2013 at 1:48 pm

    Dear Gwen. Thank you for your thoughtful condolence message. I appreciated your kindness! Sheila

  6. penelope steiner on December 3, 2013 at 10:43 am

    Sheila, as always you write from your heart. Beautiful sentiments and poignant thoughts. Love, Penelope

    • sheila on December 3, 2013 at 1:54 pm

      Dearest Penelope, thank you for your kind words. As always, you have touched my Blue Heart with your words! Love, Sheila

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