Wednesday, April 03, 2013

For the Last Time . . . for David . . .

היום שמונה ימים  שהם שבוע אחד ויום אחד בעמר
Today is eight days, which is one week and one day of the omer
חסד שבגבורה
A day of loving kindness in a week of strength

One week in, and writers block has already set in. When that happens, I look at the books around me for inspiration. Since various chumashim -- books that contain the 5 books of Moses, the Torah -- are always within arms length of my desk, I usually start there, looking at the reading for the week. This week's parashah is Shmini, which contains the story of the death of Nadav and Avihu, two of Aaron, the high priest's sons.

The circumstances surrounding their demise are sudden, confusing and to many, very upsetting. I do not want to go into that at this time. But what ever the reasons, their deaths are a painful loss to their family. I can feel that loss right now, since it's been less than a month that my dear friend, David Weiss, passed away very suddenly. I plan to share more about David when we mark sheloshim, the 30 days since his passing.

In the chumash that I chose to mine for inspiration, The Torah, A Women's Commentary, published by URJ Press and the Women of Reform Judaism, there is a section of poetry and personal writings connected to each parashah. In Shemini, I found this poem by Robin Fox, which expresses so well the aftermath of such a loss.

For the Last Time 
How do you know
when it's the last time?
The last time to ask
"How are you?
How was your day?"
The last time to say
"I love you
Good night . . . sweet dreams." 
You don't.
And so you must reach out
with love and compassion
at every opportunity
to show those who love you
that you care
you love
and need to be needed . . .
in a world where you suddenly find yourself
alone once again
in an achingly painful way
because someone you love
has left you behind
to seek your own paths
and truths
in an uncertain place. 
The only thing certain
is that you're not truly alone
because of those who do love you
and for that be thankful
and grateful
and feel blessed
that you were able to say
"Good night . . . I love you"
one last time.

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