Monday, July 2, 2012

Being Two Places at Once

As we all know, that's impossible.  We can't really be two places at once, although some people try with modern technology to "attend" events via skype, live-streaming (if that what it's called) and other modern "hook-ups."

Granted some of you consider me a bit "nuts," but I have had that "being two places at once" a couple of times.  One of them was last Thursday.  By one of those amazing flukes aka siyate deShmaya I found myself in a ride from work (my boss had offered me one of those rare "I need you to work on Thursday, you choose the hours" shifts) straight to the Shiloh Cemetery for Shmuel Efrayim Yerushalmi, HaYaD's tenth azkarah, memorial.

I had been so certain that I'd never get home for it that I hadn't even planned in my mind that I'd be there.  Honestly, it's really impossible to get to every single memorial of every single person I wish to honor and remember.  The custom here is that each family tries to have ceremonies every year on the Jewish date of the death.  As I stood, listened, watched, sadly taking it all in it suddenly occurred to me that it may be close to the time of my Aunt Helen's funeral in New York.

Aunt Helen had just died very suddenly a few days before very soon after celebrating her 90th birthday. 

Aunt Helen, Z"L and Uncle George, Z"L

Aunt Helen was strong and active until just a couple of days before her death.  She was definitely my closest aunt.  It probably began because I lived with Aunt Helen and Uncle George, my father's brother, and their elder daughter Harriet for the week (which was the custom in those days) my mother spent in the hospital after my brother was born.

We also lived in the same Bayside neighborhood until my family moved out when I was thirteen.  Actually, Aunt Helen lived in the very same house for over sixty years until she died.  The neighborhood changed many times, but it always remained a nice pleasant place to live.

Aunt Helen was always a strong "presence," not shy about sharing her opinions and feelings.  When I congratulated her about becoming a great-grandmother, she replied:

"I was always a GREAT grandmother!"

Lunch with Aunt Helen was always on my visit New York schedule.  But this visit will herald many changes in the usual routine.

As I stood in the cemetery listening to the eulogies and messages to Shmuel, HaYaD, my mind kept drifting to Aunt Helen and the fact that I really needed to be at her funeral. At least I was at a cemetery and the bodily remains of the holy souls buried here, including my in-laws who knew her well, would be greeting her in Olam HaBa (the Next World.)

A short while after I got home I got a call from my NY daughter who reported that Aunt Helen's funeral was over and she had just left my cousin's house.  My mind quickly calculated that my feelings were correct.  Aunt Helen's funeral was around the same time I had been at the cemetery.

Yihi zichra baruch
May her memory be a blessing

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