Recently someone close to my family passed away and it made me think about "things." It makes me think of the big questions in life, why were we created, where do we go from here, etc. But I think the thing I think about most is living life to its fullest.
Jewish tradition has a nuanced approach to this challenge. Thoughtful rabbis and scholars disagree. What is clear, however, is the various factors that matter in making the decision.
As a professor who studies attitudes toward death among a wide populace, I ask myself, "Are my Jewish friends in denial?" After all, if death really is our destination, then we cease to exist when we die.
One dear friend pointed out this morning how hard it is to reconcile the cemetery where she takes her very young child to visit her father's grave with the plastic headstones all over town, the scary way graveyards are depicted, not just at Halloween, but in many children's stories.
This ending is different, though, different than all the other years. My older daughter Ruby's 70-year-old mother-in-law Alice, a woman I consider a dear friend, was diagnosed with metastasized lung cancer a few short months ago.
We filed out the church doors to the memory garden where a small hole had been dug. The minister laid my parents' urn into the hole and invited family members to place a spadeful of dirt on it.
On the evening of April 26 I received a phone call that one never wants to get. My younger sister, Keisha told me in a very soft, calm demeanor that our mother passed out. After much anxious questioning, I soon found out that my mother passed away from a heart attack.
Regardless of how well you prepare, cleaning out a deceased loved one's home, bedroom, or even closet ranks among life's most stressful experiences. It may be many months before you are emotionally ready to tackle the project.
The goal of life is death --Sigmund Freud If you live in the Northern hemisphere, and if you are lucky enough to reside ...
My grandmother will forever be a proud woman. She had such pride for her family and friends, her children and grandchildren, her nieces and nephew and everyone in between. My grandmother, ever the socialite, would take me by the hand and introduce me to her friends.
I simultaneously felt awe, fear, excitement, humility, cowardice, courage, frailty, strength, embarrassment, curiosity, sorrow, and joy.
tell myself that while my feelings of anger, guilt, and selfishness are normal, they aren't where I should live my life. I love her. And that's enough. Love is always enough. It's a lesson that will probably take another 10 years to just begin to understand. So for now, when I hear those words, I'm ready to start accepting it for what it is, an act of grace and love.
We parents now had to face talking with our children about death. Our kids have already suffered loss due to divorce. But this is just... so much bigger. I wanted to share this with anyone struggling with how to talk to a child about the death of a loved one. I hope it helps.
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