Oldie-but-goodie: Ow! My heart!

I’m not sure what I’ll be doing next in the blogosphere, so in the meantime I’m running some old posts that I particularly enjoyed writing.

I was just snuggling with my daughter in her wee bed, and she had been quiet for a minute or two when she says to me: “How many people draw perfect circles?” (Only she still says “puh-fect suh-cles”).

I say “Oh, not many.”

“Yeah, that’s probably done by machines.”

“You know what honey, you really have to settle down now….”

“Can I just -?”

“One thing,” I say, my cheek against her forehead, my arms around her.

“You know those things that you trace where you make everything just puh-fect?”


“Does a machine make those things?”

“Yeah, a machine makes them.”

“I thought so. I knew a puh-son couldn’t make it like that.”

I grin and grin and pull her even closer, kiss her forehead, and say: “You are, just, figuring out the world…!”

And without missing a beat she says: “But I’m only just at the start of it. Because I’m six years old.”

This moment.

Technically, I suppose it’s already Shabbat, and as we all know, I don’t roll on Shabbat. But I just came home from my second wake in eight days, and I feel the need to write — to reach out, I suppose.

The first wake, a week ago yesterday, was for a woman who had lived long and reached the end of a terrible illness. It was a death that might have been better, but came, at last, as a release. The second wake, today’s, was for the 26 year old father of a three year old girl (today, it turns out, was her birthday), a police officer who happened to be the grandson of the woman who died last week. He was killed in a car accident, two days after his grandmother’s funeral.

I didn’t know either of these people — they were the mother and beloved nephew of a close friend. I had met the young man at his grandmother’s wake, and watched his daughter play (watched her with the relief that you feel when you see a child enjoying herself at a funeral), but neither loss was my own.

Yet at the end of this week, bracketed and filled with death and loss, sorrow and fear, I feel entirely drained, and so, so sad. And I feel my attachment to those I love as a tender and wondrous thing, gentle, fragile, a thing to be cradled tonight, held close and with joy.

So all I want to say as we close this week is this: Hold those you love. Take a moment to consider them and their place in your heart, imagine in your mind the delicate filament the ties you to them, and hold them. Tell them that you love them, and remind yourself how lucky you are to have their love.

We can never know when death will come. It may come (as it did for my father) at the end of cruel illness that stole him away over the course of a year; it may come (as it did for that 26 year old police officer, and dozens upon dozens of Egyptians this week) in an instant; it may come (please God) at the end of a long and fruitful life. But of course: It will come.

All we can know is that we have this moment. This is the moment to let love wash over and through us. This is the moment.

Shabbat shalom, to you, to those who mourn, and to all who struggle and strive across God’s earth. May we know peace, in our hearts and in our lives. Shabbat shalom.

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