life in and around NYC is insane

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

the rituals of mourning

When I got to Drew's house last night, he mentioned that our friend B had called and left a message on Drew's answering machine,  and that he planned to call her back after our dinner date.

The phone rang again just before we left the house.  It was our friend F. We could hear her speaking into the answering machine.  The message was serious, almost ominous.

First B, and then F?  I told Drew "Something bad has happened."

We called F from the car.

And so we found out that R passed away, two weeks shy of her 66th birthday.

Drew has known R forever, she went to high school with Drew's sister Shelley. R was single, retired, and living alone in the house that had been her parents',  Apparently she had a massive heart attack.

I feel for the family.  It's difficult to arrange for the funeral of a loved one.  How much more so when that person has died just before a huge family holiday?

They've decided to wait until after Thanksgiving for the wake and the funeral.  Most of the friends in our group will likely go to the wake Saturday afternoon.

Interesting, isn't it?  Jews hold the funeral as quickly as possible, then sit shiva: we bury our dead, and then we mourn.  Catholics do their mourning at the wake, and the funeral brings the formal grieving process to a close. And yet the rituals have the same purpose, to honor the deceased, and to bring comfort and closure to the survivors.

So much death, so much dying...

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