Monday, November 27, 2017

sitting shiva

I went Sunday evening to sit shiva in memory of a redoubtable lady whom I had liked and admired.

This was not the full seven-day megilla with rending of clothing and all. In Reform practice as I know it, it's an evening gathering at someone's home, with food and conversation, and the centerpiece a formal session of prayers and reminiscences, led by a rabbi if there's one handy.

There were many people there, including three generations of descendants, and a variety of folk. There was even a topless girl. Of course she was two years old, but whatever.

The deceased had been living in the memory unit of a rehab facility*, but she seemed pretty compos mentis when I visited her there, and the best anecdote told in the reminiscences, story dating from just a few weeks ago, confirms the same. It's useful to remember that among her vocations was that of teacher, and a rather exacting one:
HOME HEALTH AIDE: You need to lay down, Caroline.
PATIENT: It's lie down.
HOME HEALTH AIDE: I'm sorry, English isn't my first language.
PATIENT: I should hope not!
And I can just hear her saying that.

*The same facility my mother had been at in her final illness.

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