When a Jewish person dies, the traditional way to grieve includes sitting shiva, a seven-day mourning period when visitors arrive to comfort and care for the bereaved. At the end of the week, the…mourners "get up" and resume more of their normal activities. Some people signify "getting up" by taking a walk around the block. But when I got up from shiva after my mother's death this spring, I ran a marathon. Let me explain. I signed up for my fourth full marathon two weeks before my mother's… >> Read More
My father in law passed away last week at the age of 84.
Watching my husband Gideon's facial expressions as he wrote the eulogy for his father—the smiles as he remembered the funny times and the…tears welling as he recognized those days are in the past—I was reminded of the depth and power of loving relationships. His grief and love are intertwined. Singer and artist Patti Smith shares her view of death in an online video I recently watched. She reveals that though she has lost many loved ones, she… >> Read More
Tracy Newman wrote amazing lists of things not to do—and to do—at a Shiva recently. It’s been three years since my mom passed and I also remember the things that helped and hurt. I thought I…would add my own some concrete suggestions of things you can do to help in ways you might never have thought about. Here are six things to do when you pay a shiva call. 1. Ask about allergies and think outside the food box. Jews bring food after a death. You don’t walk into a… >> Read More
My mother recently, and pretty unexpectedly, passed away as you may have recently read on my blog post about Shiva “don’t”s. Losing my beautiful, vibrant mom, my children’s devoted…grandmother, my shopping partner and all-around friend has been soul-crushingly painful. Reliving all those horrible days in the hospital. Wondering how I could have helped her more, anticipating all those moments, big and small, when she won’t be here and listing all the ways I could have been a better daughter. It all really hurts.… >> Read More
I have just returned from taking a walk around my block (though I’m not exactly sure if I started on the right side, as Chabad.com instructed me to do when I looked up this ritual).
There is…fresh snow on the ground, and I imagine how it looks, covering the brown earth of my mother’s newly dug grave. Bagels upon bagels have been eaten. Leftover deli platters have been brought to the local homeless shelter. Tears have been shed. Many, many tears. Hugs exchanged. Reconciliations offered and accepted, with hopes that they… >> Read More