One thing about Jewish practice is that for all the parts of it that are hard to access, we do well with the process of mourning and grief. Losing both Mitzi and Rabbi Lew in the space of a week has weighed very heavy on my soul, but it's good to have rituals and a community for support.
With Mitzi, the grief is a bit easier to deal with - our close relationship and all the time I spent with her in this past year makes me miss her alot but also gives me comfort. With Rabbi Lew it's more complicated. He gave me so much, taught me so much, yet also was the source of some anger. I have been releasing that anger over the past months, and we had some very precious, close moments with each other during this year. So at least I'm spared the guilt I might have felt if this happened just a year or so past.
It's still alot to deal with, but because of my teachers--Rabbi Lew, Norman Fischer, Susannah Bruder--I know to keep moving forward, one step at a time. I also know that we need to feel the pain in order to go beyond it. For if there were no emotion, there would be no love. And while the physical bodies may be gone, the love remains, stays with us, and helps us grow.