Monday, August 28, 2006

Yesterday I went to a Jewish "unveiling" service for one of my patients. I took my husband and we met the family of the deceased, sister, brother, nephews, and those who were close to her. There was about 20 people there. I was the only one from the hospital. We gathered in the parking lot, visiting and introducing ourselves and how we knew P. After this, we began a long walk up the cemetary to the grave site. There was a brown cloth draped over the stone. The Rabbi began by the call to gather, and the Cantor also did his piece. While I did not know what he was saying, in Hebrew, it was familiar and beautiful. The Rabbi invited the sister/brothers to remove the cloth together and then they said the Mourner's prayer together.
Mourners: Yit-ga-dal ve-yit-ka-dash she-mey ra-ba
Be-al-ma div-ra chir-u-tey
Ve-yam-lich mal-chu-tey
Be-cha-yey-chon uv-yo-me-chon uv-cha-yey de-chol beyt yis-ra-el
Ba-a-ga-la u-viz-man ka-riv ve-im-ru a-men.
Mourners: Let God's name be made great and holy in the world that was created as God willed. May God complete the holy realm in your own lifetime, in your days, and in the days of all the house of Israel, quickly and soon. And say: Amen.
Congregation: Ye-hey she-mey ra-ba me-va-rach
le-a-lam ul-al-mey al-ma-ya.
Congregation: May God's great name be blessed, forever and as long as worlds endure.
Mourners: Yit-ba-rach ve-yish-ta-bach ve-yit-pa-ar ve-yit-ro-mam
Ve-yit-ha-dar ve-yit-a-leh ve-yit-ha-lal she-mey de-kud-sha
Be-rich hu
Le-ela le-ela mi-kol bir-cha-ta
ve-shi-ra-ta tush-be-cha-ta
ve-ne-che-ma-ta da-a-mi-ran
ve-im-ru a-men.
Mourners: May it be blessed, and praised, and glorified, and held in honor, viewed with awe, embellished, and revered; and may the blessed name of holiness be hailed, though it be higher by far than all the blessings, songs, praises, and consolations that we utter in this world. And say: Amen.
Ye-hey she-la-ma ra-ba min
Ve-cha-yim a-ley-nu ve-al kol
yis-ra-el ve-im-ru a-men.

O-seh sha-lom bim-ro-mav
hu ya-a-seh sha-lom a-ley-nu
ve-al kol yis-ra-el
ve-al kol yosh-vey tevel ve-im-ru amen.
May Heaven grant a universal peace, and life for us, and for all Israel. And say: Amen.

May the one who creates harmony above, make peace for us and for all Israel, and for all who dwell on earth. And say: Amen
My husband later said that while the service was different, it was good because it gave a nice summing of the person.. a nice way to say good-bye. In our North American traditions, our Christian traditions, we will have the funeral/memorial service about a week after the death, but there is usually nothing more. Where I grew up, it is more common to see a memorial, with picture, in the paper about a year or many years after the death of the loved one. My mother told me she did not want that done for her. It can be somewhat tacky. But in a sense, there is nothing for those of us left. The funeral service happens... and that is it. There is no real mention or understanding of grief. People are expected to just "move on" or get over it. We see this in soap operas. A character dies and there is no mention of them again, or it is dragged out, boring the audience. Grief is not something that people wish to think about, but it is a part of life. I liked the unveiling. It was helpful for me as I was not able to attend the service at the time of her death, and I think it was helpful for that family. To remember the life of P. and her passion for living even up to the end.
My relationship with P. was short compared with her long life, but she inspired me to learn more about the Jewish tradition. I had previously liked to read books by Anita Diamant, which are novels and informative books about Jewish life. And this has inspired me to read about other traditions as well. Sikh, Hindu, Buddhist and Aboriginal spirituality.

No comments: