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Friday, December 28, 2007

Death in the Family

My father in law, A. died last Sunday, December 16, 2007. This past week his wife and his children (my husband and sister-in-law) sat shiva for him. Prayers were held at the home every morning at 6:15 and every afternoon at 4:15. There was always a minyan. We had a lot of food. Too much food perhaps. The atmosphere was lively. There were 40, 50, 60 people at the house every evening reminiscing about A. My mother in law, E. veritably held court as people came to offer their condolences and share stories of the subtle, yet influential ways in which A. touched their lives.
My husband assumed the obligations of his grief respectfully and without question. He has not shaved since A.’s death and his beard is peppered and thick already, after only a week. We seem to circulate around each other as he leaves the house early to attend shul.
After ensuring there was enough food in the house for the mourners and the visitors during the week of shiva, I became ill and have not quite recovered.
My oldest daughter has been a woman through all of this. She too cooked and served food. She stayed with my mother in law to comfort her. She got up at 6:00 on the morning to make sure there was coffee for the men who came to the house to pray in the morning. Her heart is generous and kind.
My youngest daughter returned to school after a day or two. She seems fine.
A. was a strong, giving, decent, observant, caring and humble man. He was 85 years old at the time of his death. He lived a good life and died a good death – peacefully, quietly. We are going to miss him.

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