Tag Archives: shiva

Time to Cry Tuesdays – Grieving is not for Sissies


I know, quite a blog post title to resurface with, but hey, it’s Tuesday. What do you expect?

I like to find the humor in most situations. This grief thing is surely putting a damper on my style, but I work hard at trying to find a way to laugh when I can.

Today I have hit new heights. Amongst the odds and ends of things on my to-do list today, snuggled nicely between ‘call to have the sprinkler system serviced’ and ‘fax e-file forms back to the accountant’ sat this ominous listing:

Call the cemetery to inquire about the sod issue.

Really? The sod issue? Why should there be an issue about sod when we are talking about a grave. Should grass not be a given? Shouldn’t our lowest expectation of a cemetery be that they would lay some sod on a final resting place (Yes, I realize this sounds like a cemetery marketing piece) Apparently not, because they told my Dad that they only lay sod in the fall. So, I decided to call them myself and get to the bottom of this.

First call yielded a recording:

We are experiencing unusually high call volume at this time. Please try again later. (seriously!!!! People dying to get in today… ba dum bum)

Second try:

Me: I am calling about having sod put down on a grave for an unveiling* in June.

Her: I am sorry, we only lay sod in the fall. If we lay it in the spring and we have a hot day, it burns. And we care for it if we put it down.

Me: Were we told that last spring at the funeral (as if we would remember). Or did you send us a notice, like ‘hey, if you don’t want a dirt grave for your loved one you need to order sod in the fall’

Her: No, we don’t.

Me: Hmmm, you might want to consider putting that in your packet. Can we put down our own sod?

Her: Yes, but you will have to take care of it.

Me: Do you have a sprinkler system (yes, after I said that I realized it is probably unlikely and frowned upon to start digging in a cemetery, but I had a momentary loss of rational thought from this conversation)

Her: We do not. Your other option is that you can wait till the fall and we can rent you a grass matt for the unveiling for $10 a square…

with this I sort of lost my mind and said:

Me: Are you kidding me?! More fees! This is like a Larry David.

Her: Who is Larry David?

Me: OMG… Seinfeld? The Larry David Show? Ring a bell?

Her: Oh, never heard of him. Never watched it.

Me: That’s too bad. Ok, so basically you are telling me that my father, who is in his mid 80s, will have to lay sod himself on his wife’s grave so we don’t have to look at the same raw dirt that was there the day of the funeral. And if we want said sod to stay alive, we should drive there a couple of times a week from Long Island to New Jersey to water it. And this you do not find both horrifying and hysterical at the same time.

Her: Well, when you put it that way…

Me:  You should REALLY see if you can find re-runs of Larry David.

Yeh, grieving is not for sissies, indeed.

*Unveiling: Within the first year after the passing of a loved one, mourners and their family gather at the gravesite for a ceremony called the Unveiling, the placing of the tombstone. At this event, a grave marker is put into place and the monument is formally dedicated.

Source: shiva.com. (who knew there was such a url?)


Filed under humor, loss, religion, Time to Cry Tuesdays, Uncategorized

Time to Cry Tuesday – Sitting Shiksa

sitting-shiksa2No, there is not a typo in that headline. Keep reading and you will see what I mean.

This past week one of my dearest friends – my wife of sorts –  lost her dad. She and I are known somewhat as the Lucy and Ethel of our community. Our antics are legendary (in our minds, anyway). The following is an adaptation of an email that I sent to our friends:

After a long period of compromised health, my friend’s dad cried uncle and died peacefully. Unfortunately, she was away on vacation with her daughter and had to return quickly to make arrangements. As you can imagine this has been a very difficult time for her. But I am happy to report her sense of humor and love of life is fully intact. Read on.

She will be going to Arizona for a first memorial service on Sunday and then to Boston on March 3rd where she and her brother will have his ashes buried next to her mom, hopefully in an ‘uneventful’ ceremony. Not a chance! (note: as with all families there is the predicted drama that is hard to avoid)

As her life is here in NY now, we know that there are many that want to pay their respects to her since she is always there for everyone else. Only our dear friend, in her grief, could call me this morning with this novel and frankly hysterical request. Let me share our conversation:

Friend: Hi, it’s me again. I decided you are right and I need to do something here.

Me: That’s great, what did you have in mind?

Friend: I think I would like to ‘Sit Shiksa’!

Me: That could be the funniest thing I have ever heard.

Friend: Oh and tell people to forget the boxes of cake, bring wine and have a drink with me to celebrate my dad’s life.

For those who are not ‘of the tribe’, when someone dies in the Jewish religion we sit Shiva. Shiva meaning ‘seven’ in Hebrew, we receive guests in our home to pay their respects for 7(ish) days. (it’s complicated)

Figuring that 7 days of guests would surely put her husband in a psych unit, sitting Shiksa will be an afternoon ordeal. Shiksa, on the other hand, means ‘woman who is not a Jew’. Of course we all know that our friend is a Jew by association by now as she has been to more Bar Mitzvot and Shiva calls than most Jews by birth.

Please join their family, not to mourn, but celebrate the life of the man who fathered our dear friend. One hell of a guy and a man who always loved a good party. He will surely be there with us.

If you have friends of mixed marriages, or live in a diverse community, pass this on. There are few that hear it who cannot relate.

Here is to my dear friend, who can truly make lemonade out of ANY situation in life. And who always keeps me laughing, even through her tears. When she married our dear friend, she married us too. And she has been a hell of a good sport about it for the past 20 years. We love you babe. May your grieving be cathartic and know we will love you forever.

Sitting on my desk is a framed piece you gave me years ago:

Friends are the family you choose.

I choose you!

Haven’t had enough of me yet? You can also read me at 50-Something Moms Blog.

For photo enthusiasts, visit Leaving the zip code, photos from outside the comfort zone.

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Filed under communities, friendship, relationships, Time to Cry Tuesdays