Today I took down all of the mirror coverings. There are many reasons why a Jewish household covers their mirrors during a time of mourning. For some it’s just a cultural thing. For others it’s a religious thing. For me, I felt that it was the right thing to do. But what the ancients state as the reasoning for covering the mirrors is that when a loved one dies, that death leaves a void which attracts evil spirits. If you’re like me before the loss of my son, you would have smiled at this belief. (Demons...c’mon.) But now, I’m not so sure. There is a darkness that has steadily crept into this home and crept into my heart since the death of my son.
Every soldier who has seen death and been in combat knows that primal force inside of you. We have each had to make peace with the knowledge that the civilized us, is a facade. But this darkness, this feeling in the pit of my stomach is something different. It’s something foreign. It’s not something that I have ever felt before.
What’s even more shocking is that when I looked into the first mirror that I uncovered in our master bathroom, I didn’t recognize the man staring back at me. I don’t mean this figuratively. I mean this literally. Those eyes that stared back at me, those eyes, my eyes that are supposed to be brown were dark. Mirror after mirror I uncovered, and still every time the first reflection stared back at me, I couldn’t help but feel like I wasn’t there. I wasn’t looking at me in that mirror. I was looking at a stranger.
Who knows? Maybe I am now a stranger to myself. I have no clue at what will make me burst into tears or make me see red. I’m gregarious when I would have been reflective and I’m reclusive when I would have been convivial. Even my attitude towards work has changed. No one has ever gotten mad at me in the professional world for slacking. In fact, most of the times that friction has arisen between myself and colleagues or bosses is because I am continually pushing to get things done and expect people to move at my fast pace. Now, I know that I need to schedule some business meetings, but they’re just not important enough for me to send a calendar invite.
I don’t know if it’ll be because of healing or time that the face that I see in the mirror will be recognizable to me. I don’t know if I’ll get back to my old self. I don’t know if I want to be my old self.
I just don’t know.