Friday, January 13, 2012

Lessons learned from death

I officiate at funerals and always learn valuable life lessons. Lessons learned recently

1. Woman under 50 dies from complications of lifelong debilitating disease.  Our normal reaction would be to be daunted to say the least at the prospect of living with this. It did not stop her. She had no regrets. She lived life to the fullest. Did not let her disease stop her. Average lifetime expectancy when she was born was 13 and today is mid twenties. She saw her extra years as a blessing.

2. 90+ year old man dies. No gossip, never said bad word about anyone, treated all with respect, had wit humor,

3. 88 year old woman dies. I asked what special Jewish traditions she observed. No joke, they said every holiday she insisted on serving pork.

4. man in 70s dies. Went to every ball game his sons ever played. No jewish practices. Turns out one son now lives down the block of my first congregation in Brooklyn, belongs there and sends their kids to the Jewish day school there where his wife is on the Board. Son told me his deceased father would find it amusing that now his attendance at grand children's events would now also include leading services and reading torah

5. Eye of the beholder, A family was hoping to have a 94 year old rabbi who had married the deceased to his surviving widow years ago and told the family this. They did not tell the grandchildren he was unavailable and I , 55 years old, was officiating. The granddaughter walked in anmd remarked to her father that i looked pretty good for 94.

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