Monday, December 22, 2008

Thoughts on a funeral

Last night, after we lit the first Chanukah candle, YZG and I went to a funeral. As you can imagine, the juxtaposition of the two events was jarring – to say the least.

But that’s not what I want to blog about right now.

I want to talk about the funeral itself. By YZG’s estimate (I can never judge these things), there were well over a thousand people there.

A crowd like that might lead you to think that this was the funeral of a major Rav or a noted celebrity.

However, it wasn’t.

It was the funeral of a wife. A mother. A grandmother. A sister. A daughter. A teacher. A seemingly “ordinary” person…. who turned out to be extraordinary.

A significant percentage of those in attendance probably didn’t know her personally. Some of them were her children’s friends; others were her husband’s work colleagues. But the truth is that during her all-too-brief time on earth, she left her impact on all of them. After all, she was the one who made her husband and her children be who they are.

Her death is an unbearable and unfathomable tragedy. In his hesped, her husband asked, “How can we possibly go on without her?!”

And yet, in spite of the sadness and in spite of the grief, every single person who was there last night walked away inspired and moved to somehow emulate her.



  1. I think I know which funeral you went to. I was in shock when I heard as I didn't know the situation had deteriorated. I knew her through her relationship to close friends. I didn't see her often but she was always greeted me like an old friend.

  2. MII - "I didn't see her often but she always greeted me like an old friend."
    That sounds like her. At the levaya, several of the speakers stressed that she always had a smile and a kind word for everyone...


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