Sunday, June 15, 2008

long, hard, sad day...

today we went to a funeral. no way to spend father's day... but we were supporting a family friend who lost her mother a few days ago. it was only a year before that she was burying her father, too. (and let me point out that this is my mother-in-law's college friend, not someone our age... not that that matters, but I wanted to share)

we, well, I, got up late... as usual. we needed to be in colchester (about an forty-five minutes away) for services at 1pm. we made it riiiiiight at 1pm (ok, maybe 1:05p) because we hit some traffic on 91 due to a bridge closure (and I made us late to begin with). anyway, the services started at the synagogue (yes, it was a jewish funeral)... and the rabbi spoke, then our friend spoke. that was hard... she was so close to her mother... called her every day on her way home from work. it just made me think about my mother and how close I am with her... I don't think I will ever be ready for something like that. it was hard, too, because I never really grieved for my grandmother when she passed a little over three years ago. she was all I had left... and I just tried to be stoic and unemotional. [sigh] anyway, it was a hard service... I just wanted to cry with her... tell her how much I understood.

then, the service was over and we went the the burial site. the one thing about jewish funerals... wow. it's intensely emotional. from my understanding (and the brief explanation from das, who is jewish), one of the beliefs is that the greatest mitzvahs you can perform is to show that you can accept the death of a loved one and celebrate their life and love. to show this, you must shovel dirt into the grave. the first shovelful is done with the back of the shovel to show that you are not rushing to bury the dead... then two more shovelfuls follow, the right way. the attendants at the burial also do the same (meaning das and I participated as well). I can understand the deeper meaning of this, and can appreciate how this can help in the healing process... but man. just seeing someone you know and care for experience this utter pain, is hard... just makes you think of your own mortality. just not something I wanted to experience... then again, no one asks for the opportunity either.

after the burial, we went back to the synagogue for the "meal of consolation" (I believe that's what it's called). we gathered together for a small meal of bagels, lox, whitefish salad, and other traditional jewish foods. our friend didn't know that we were in attendance... so when she saw us, she came over and gave us a big hug to thank us for being there for her. it was definitely one of those times when I wish I hadn't worn any makeup. it was a challenge to blink back the tears. so after we ate some food... we headed out. we knew that if we didn't leave, she wouldn't leave... and she needed some alone time to process the day before she went to her mother's house for shiv'ah.

it was definitely a very emotional day... and so I slept for a while when we returned home. I just woke up not too long ago... and I'm still just drained. [sigh]

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