It has not rained in Jerusalem in nearly two weeks. The weather report is calling it a “dry period” within this rainy season. I feel lied to by the weather, and I feel foolish for feeling as though a natural force would even recognize me beneath its periodically-gray skies. But I know the sky does not care about my angry, dry thoughts.
I have been in a funk since the rains stopped—perhaps since my little sister went back home after visiting me in Jerusalem. I spoke so much about the rainy season, made sure she packed water proof shoes and a raincoat, and watched as the moisture in the sky evaporated before our faces. Perhaps I took the weather in vain. Weather should just be, regardless of what I want.
There have been two unexpected deaths in my family since the rains stopped. I have said kaddish and submerged myself into grief in the wake of tragedy. The absence of my family has made my grief more complicated by the worry that their grief may be made worse by the distance between us. If I am not there to be the rock for the people I love, I crumble; if I am not there to cry on the shoulder of an older, wiser, stronger rock, will they crumble as well?
The outpouring of love and support from my peers, teachers, and friends in Jerusalem has been overwhelming. My husband has brought happiness into my grief and shared my tears with me when he broke the news of my baby cousin’s death. I was able to turn to the people here whom I love and share my grief with them, my feelings of uselessness, my feelings of being cut off from my family, my feelings of abandonment, my guilt.
Here in the arid winter of the rainy season, I am still moving forward. My absence from family is a dry period of its own, a back-and-forth of blame and guilt that we are not living under the same patch of sky right now. This dryness will pass, and the clouds will again burst upon us. Until then, the pressure in the mountains of Jerusalem will continue to build and crush against my skull, a bearing-down that equalizes the pain in my sinuses with the pain in my heart.
When the period of natural grief ends and the rain does fall once more, I will pray and thank the Universe for relief from these painfully dry days.