The Summer of 2017
July 4, 2017, was on a Tuesday and my office was closed Monday and Tuesday and I was car sitting for a friend. I had day trips planned for Sunday, Monday and Tuesday, they included hiking, shopping, and a visit with my son to name a few.
Sunday morning I was driving up to Monsey and as I was at the foot of the George Washington Bridge and I got a Facebook message from one of my nephews offering condolences for my father. I pulled over and asked him what he was talking about and he told me that my father passed away about an hour ago.
I thought it best to get home — not really sure why. I reprogrammed my gps and felt my hands shaking. I stopped and asked myself if I needed a minute to process this new information and started my yogic breathing. As I started driving, the shock started setting in and I pulled over again to breathe. I reminded myself that I was about an hour away from home and asked myself if I can hold on for an hour.
About half way home I started crying — and I called a friend — more like a chosen sister. I got home shaking and anxious. I started making calls and the more I heard myself saying that my father died, it got real. The tears flowed, the support flowed and the breathing continued.
The next morning my friend Devorah drove me to the funeral home and I saw my mother and siblings for the first time in years. I had a moment together with my father to ask forgiveness and had my shirt ripped (in accordance with Jewish law) and added my own rip. My sister turned to me sobbing and said “she made his life a living hell”, I put my arms around her and said “he’s in a better place now.”
After the halachic rites were completed I went to be with those who came to pay their respects. My friend came to me and asked me who are those present and I listed them, mother, brothers, sister, nieces, nephews, etc. She looked at me and asked simply, “no one said hello to you?” And I simply responded: “welcome to the family.”