Sisterhood Blog

A Mother's Meditation on the Pleasure of Solitude

By Debra Nussbaum Cohen

  • Print
  • Share Share

I am enjoying the ultimate luxury vacation. Am I in a villa on the mountainous shores of Lake Como? No. Wading into startlingly clear turquoise waters in the Caribbean? Nope. In a south Tel Aviv boutique hotel in newly hip Neve Tzedek? I wish.

I am simply… in my house… quiet and alone. My husband and Boychik are off camping, and Girlchik and Rockerchik are away at overnight camp for the month. The lead-up to their departures was frenetic weeks of shopping, packing, organizing, entertaining, cooking and baking, and then some more shopping and packing.

Not only did my children conclude what was, for each of them, a good school year, Boychik graduated from high school, with a graduation party a day earlier. Because a couple of friends couldn’t make it at the last minute and I am neurotic, I was convinced that no one would actually show up to the party. But dozens did come in the end, and it was wonderful. A few weeks earlier I accompanied Boychik to Los Angeles, where he participated in a national opera competition (in which he was a finalist). That came on the heels of sitting shiva for my father, which followed his funeral, death and the last months of his illness. It was an emotionally and physically draining few months.

Nearly as soon as I packed the girls into the camp van, the grief rose up. It kept me up at night. I cried frequently and was constantly trying to push out of my mind awful thoughts of my father in the ground. It was as if as soon as I had time to take a breath, as soon as all of the hecticity of taking care of everyone else’s needs receded, the grief surged forward.

Grief, like love, isn’t a straight line of constancy, I know. It will surge up again. I still don’t feel totally recovered from the loss of my mother. And it has been nearly 10 years since she died. But for the moment there is a lull in the storm of sadness.

And the house is quiet. I hear the murmur of traffic through our front door; I hear the wind blowing through the trees in our back yard. I am meeting a friend for dinner. And I am loving the ability to do just one thing at a time. I feel my equilibrium starting to return.

While my family will be home soon enough, and space to reflect will get flattened under the whirl of everyone else’s needs, I am loving this moment.

Because the house is quiet. And I have only my own needs to take care of.


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Vacation, Solitude, Grief



Find us on Facebook!
  • "I’ve never bought illegal drugs, but I imagine a small-time drug deal to feel a bit like buying hummus underground in Brooklyn."
  • We try to show things that get less exposed to the public here. We don’t look to document things that are nice or that people would like. We don’t try to show this place as a beautiful place.”
  • A new Gallup poll shows that only 25% of Americans under 35 support the war in #Gaza. Does this statistic worry you?
  • “You will stomp us into the dirt,” is how her mother responded to Anya Ulinich’s new tragicomic graphic novel. Paul Berger has a more open view of ‘Lena Finkle’s Magic Barrel." What do you think?
  • PHOTOS: Hundreds of protesters marched through lower Manhattan yesterday demanding an end to American support for Israel’s operation in #Gaza.
  • Does #Hamas have to lose for there to be peace? Read the latest analysis by J.J. Goldberg.
  • This is what the rockets over Israel and Gaza look like from space:
  • "Israel should not let captives languish or corpses rot. It should do everything in its power to recover people and bodies. Jewish law places a premium on pidyon shvuyim, “the redemption of captives,” and proper burial. But not when the price will lead to more death and more kidnappings." Do you agree?
  • Slate.com's Allison Benedikt wrote that Taglit-Birthright Israel is partly to blame for the death of American IDF volunteer Max Steinberg. This is why she's wrong:
  • Israeli soldiers want you to buy them socks. And snacks. And backpacks. And underwear. And pizza. So claim dozens of fundraising campaigns launched by American Jewish and Israeli charities since the start of the current wave of crisis and conflict in Israel and Gaza.
  • The sign reads: “Dogs are allowed in this establishment but Zionists are not under any circumstances.”
  • Is Twitter Israel's new worst enemy?
  • More than 50 former Israeli soldiers have refused to serve in the current ground operation in #Gaza.
  • "My wife and I are both half-Jewish. Both of us very much felt and feel American first and Jewish second. We are currently debating whether we should send our daughter to a Jewish pre-K and kindergarten program or to a public one. Pros? Give her a Jewish community and identity that she could build on throughout her life. Cons? Costs a lot of money; She will enter school with the idea that being Jewish makes her different somehow instead of something that you do after or in addition to regular school. Maybe a Shabbat sing-along would be enough?"
  • Undeterred by the conflict, 24 Jews participated in the first ever Jewish National Fund— JDate singles trip to Israel. Translation: Jews age 30 to 45 travelled to Israel to get it on in the sun, with a side of hummus.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.