Monday, February 16, 2009

Bruce Springsteen, Breakthroughs and Being Here Now

Tomorrow is the one year anniversary of my beloved younger brother's death.  In Judaism, we say a special prayer called the yizkor, or a memorial prayer, which marks the one year anniversary of a loved one's passing.  It is a prayer that should be said in synagogue because it is necessary to have a minyon, or a group of ten or more, in order to recite this prayer of remembrance.  Last Friday, Mark, myself and our four daughters, went to temple to recite yizkor in my brothers memory.  It was quite surreal to hear his name said out loud and to stand, in unison, with my husband and our children after my brother's name was recited.  At the same time that my family was saying yizkor for my brother, sweet Jen of Jenx67, was posting an incredibly touching tribute to my brother and I on her blog.  Jen and I were "introduced" to each other via my little brother and that is something I will never forget.  But that is a story for another day, and thank you, Jen, for being a part of that minyon without even realizing it.  Tomorrow evening, we will light something known as a yazreit candle which will burn for twenty-four hours.  It is said that the flame of the candle is used to remind us that the soul of the departed still burns brightly.  I believe this with all of my heart.

As I was contemplating the past year and thinking about my brother, I was using my computer to search through the lyrics of Springsteen songs.  I know many of them by heart, but my brother was a huge Springsteen fan and I wanted to get lost in the poetry behind the music.  I needed to feel close to my brother and somehow, Springsteen music always makes me feel like he is just hanging out with me.  So here I was, just scrolling through the words searching for something that might help in the continuation of the healing process when I decided to search for the words, "brothers and sisters" in Bruce Springsteen songs.  That is the exact moment, right in the middle of the word, "sisters", when my bracelet broke and the beads began gently cascading down onto my bed.  Several years ago, I began wearing bracelets made by a company called Energy Muse.  They are known for creating beautiful bracelets made with beads which represent various elements.  Each piece is created with a specific intention.  The beads which are used possess certain qualities which are said to be transferred to the wearer.  I have worn several of these bracelets over the years and I now feel naked without one.  I wear them as a sort of talisman and I often play with the beads when I pray.  The people who make these bracelets say that when one breaks, the wearer is having a breakthrough of some sort.  Having gone through several of these, I can attest to the fact that mine have broken at some very significant times in my life and although the company will put them back together for free, I prefer to keep them in a little box.  I then choose a different intention and attach a new one to my wrist.  The one that I was wearing for quite some time carried with it, the intention of 'protection'.  Protection, knowing that God is always with me and always available, is something I needed to feel desperately during the past year.  My bracelet helped to keep me grounded in my belief.  

I am not exactly sure why my bracelet broke at the exact moment that it did.  I only know that I truly believe that there are no accidents.  Things happen as they are meant to happen in order to let us know that we are either on the right path or that we need to take a detour along the way.  I purchased another Energy Muse bracelet that I found on sale, for my birthday back in July.  It sits, waiting, on my nightstand and I take comfort in the fact that I won't have to go naked for a few days until I go out and purchase another one.  This time, I chose one which carries a different affirmation along with it.  It contains the message, "I surrender both my past and my future; I live in the power of now."  And isn't that what living is all about?  Experiencing this moment, at this time, on this day.  Some of my dear blogging friends reminded me in my last post's comments, that I should not allow the moment of my brother's death to define the rest of my life.

Tomorrow morning, when I clasp my new bracelet onto my wrist and breathe a prayer into the Universe to live in the power of now, I will also think of my brother, my husband, my Angel Daughters, my Angel Nieces, Bruce Springsteen, JenX, and all of my other sweet blogging friends who have gotten me through this first year.  I will also think about the One who protects, but also reminds, when it is time to move forward.  I will say thank you to God for the gentle reminder that the period of mourning is now over.  And I will say thank you, dear God, for getting me to now.  

I will then take a long walk on the beach so that I can have a talk with my brother.



Ness said...

What a powerful post. Living in the now. A trait I aspire for. Your brother and you will never be separated for you are in each other's hearts. He will live in the memories and in his children. I look forward to hearing about more time spent with your Angel nieces. I wish I were there in person to just give you a hug. You are a truly beautiful person who means the world to me. Enjoy your walk on the beach talking to your brother. Love you.

jojo said...

Amen Deb, Amen.
Your beautiful post has touched my heart deeply. To learn more about your traditions/religion touches me more and more each day. It is so beautiful and I am anxious to learn more.
You are such a gentle soul Deb and I know your brother will be with you on your walk today. May you find peace and solace. Love...

Kathleen Botsford said...

Deb, My prayer for you this day:

Cradle yourself like a child
Listening to trust what emerges,
So that gradually
You may come to know
That deep in that black hole
You will find the blue flower
That holds the mystical light
Which will illuminate in you
The glimmer of springtime ~ John O'Donohue

Much love dear friend!

Jacque said...

I have found there is peace in the "now". ~Jacque

Jenn-n-n said...

Beautiful post.

I believe that things "go away" (break) when we no longer "need" them. So as I read about your bracelet I smiled because I've had similar experiences.

I've never heard of Energy Muse bracelets... where do you get them? Sounds like something that would be right up my alley.

Again, Thank you for sharing a piece of yourself with us Debra.

Wonderful World of Weiners said...

I can not believe it's been a year. My heart is with you and your whole family as you remember your beloved family member. Your strength continues to amaze me.


Peggy Payne said...

I too am convinced that your brother's soul still shines bright. And like Hallie, I'm startled that it has been a year. I hope that this anniversary will somehow help ease your feeling of loss.

jenx67 said...


I think what I never told you was that the day I found your comment on my blog - the day I posted that short lyric from Springsteen's No Surrender, I was in New Mexico. I think it was July or August. I was on a spiritual retreat of sorts, and had slippd into the camp office to check my blog. I still remember how in awe I was of your comment and courage. And, here we are in February, recognizing the passing of your brother's life. Gone, but not forgotten.

I had just really started blogging regularly then. I had left fulltime work after nearly 20 years, and was redefining my life. Your comment helped me feel that someone out there was listening and it galvanized me in a way to keep writing and reaching out.

We never want death or loss to define our lives, but so often, it does, and I'm not sure we should make apologies for it. The losses in my life have led me to deeper love and compassion. I don't think I'd change it for anything.

I love it when you write about Judaism and your faith. It burns bright, just like your brother's soul. It found mine in New Mexico, right?

Here's another fitting lyric from the Boss:

"At night in dreams he sees their souls rise
Like dark geese into the Oklahoma skies." (Souls of the Departed).

What I love best about blogging is the conversation. That is why are comments are public. It is an invitation for anyone and everyone to join in.

Debra W said...

Nessie, JoJo, Kathy, Jacque, Jenn, Hallie, Peggy, and Jen!

Thank you, thank you, thank you. Your kind words have lifted me up in a way that I could never describe.

Love and hugs,


I saw a movie today that had a part that described the Tikkun olam. I don't remember exactly how it went, but it basically said that the world was broken and we needed to find the pieces and put it back together. I was so moved by the thought.
Each time I read your post I am touched by your love and devotion for your family and your faith and the world in general.
My prayers are with you Debra.

Irene Latham said...

Hi Deb - I know we have been on a similar journey through grief, so it is no surprise for me to come here after just talking with my mother about how it has been almost 1 year since we lost Bobbie. I so relate to your desire to sink into Springsteen. Bobbie loved Broadway musicals, esp. Phantom of the Opera, and I have been running that CD in my van. I feel her spirit, much as you feel your brother's. xxoo

Bogart in P Towne said...

I hope your walk went well...I am sure I will think of you when I see The Boss for the first time in May.

rivergardenstudio said...

The bracelets are lovely, and their meanings to you, reading this post makes me want to make jewelry today... that you always see the light at the end of the day is so moving to me. Have a wonderful weekend. roxanne

delighted heart said...

Thank you for sharing such a beautiful post about your traditions. I love hearing about the Jewish faith. I've been praying for you. I hoping you had peace in the midst of a week of rememberances. And that you are moving forward in the plan and purpose God has for your life. I so hope we can meet in person some day. May be on my next trip to LA to see my daughter.

sparkled*life said...

Hey I hope that the week went peacfully for you! I always enjoy stopping by your blog! I used to be a big Bruce fan also!! :D My parents listened to it all of the time.

Hope your week is wonderful

sparkled*life said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Maureen Hayes said...

WOW! This is a beautiful tribute to the love you shared with your brother. I am a HUGE Springsteen fan myself and got goosebumps hearing you speak about the lyrics and what they meant to you.

The bracelet, I agree was no accident. I have a priest friend who always says, "coincidence is simply God choosing to remain in the background" and this certainly illustrates that point! I am glad you have another bracelet with a new saying, a step towards moving forward as you say.

My heart goes out to you, but remember, your brother is never truly gone because he lives on in you and your children and all the people who loved him.

Hugs to you sweet lady!

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