Not in a million years would I have guessed, been able to predict what I did and where I was for that hour on Friday afternoon.
Nu, have you guessed yet? I was at a funeral. A neighbor, a friend, younger by a few years, died in her home that morning. I'll write more about her later. I'm still in shock. She had some health problems, but she wasn't sick, expecting to die. None of us expected her to die. She's survived by both parents, a child and a sister.
I had no idea that anything had happened. Nobody called me. I took a one minute break to check emails, since we hadn't gotten our weekly community newsletter, and I had been hoping that someone would send me a computer copy. That's how I saw a notification, from the Shiloh email list. I began rushing all of my Shabbat preparation in order to have time to go to the funeral.
The family decided to make the funeral as short as possible. Instead of starting from the synagogue or home, we met at the cemetery. Lots of people attended to pay respects to the dead neighbor and her family, one of Shiloh's triple-generation clans.
One of the things that really got to me at this funeral was that it was conducted by a neighbor who is fighting cancer. Six months or so ago he had gotten a very bad diagnosis and has undergone treatments. So listening to him and watching him in this role as Chevra Kadisha was rather amazing. I'm glad to see him alive and well and never expected that he'd be burying the other neighbor. As in the past, he motioned to me to do the kri'ah, the knife cut to rip the mourner's clothes. I've done it quite a few times for the women, but this was the first time I had more than one mourner. At this funeral there were three generations.