A season of death
Last week I received a call telling me that our friend who had been suffering from a brain tumor for the past year and a half had just been moved into hospice. Our friend and I were pregnant together and our kids were part of the 1995/96 crop of babies in our community.
Those pregnancies were fraught for both of us and for different reasons. My friend had delivered a still born baby girl before I had ever met her. I was confined to bed during my pregnancy because I had gone into labor at twelve weeks. My friend was part of that wonderful loose confederation of people who kept me and my household going during that hard pregnancy. There were many phone calls between us and many visits during those months of our shared pregnancy and anxiety. My friend's baby was born several months before mine.
My doctors finally allowed me to get up out of bed for my last few weeks of pregnancy and my friend was one of the group of women who hosted a lunch along with their babies to celebrate my being allowed out of bed.
My friend ran the Big kid's services that all of my kids attended. My kids told me to never stop by at those services. I knew that to most adult eyes, the service looked chaotic and probably more than slightly transgressive. I also knew that my kids adored going to her services,that they looked forward to Shabbat morning and they learned a ton. I was happy to stay away it if meant that my kids continued to attend and to learn and to enjoy delving in Jewish ideas.
Later my older son taught along my friend in our synagogue Hebrew school. I was touched that she was willing to see my son not just as a kid but also as a colleague.
So while we were awaiting the inevitable sad news about my friend, we learned that another community member died suddenly of a heart attack.
We went to his funeral yesterday.
We followed his body up West And Avenue after his funeral.
We walked in the heavy cold rain.
I came home to learn that my friend had died while I was at the funeral. So today we were back in the same place to grieve yet again.
The weather was pleasanter but the task was as grim.
I am looking forward to a change of season.