The Most Interesting Person in the World

Day Trip to the Graveyard

Posted on: May 16, 2010

Today there was an unveiling for the mother-in-law of a family friend. It was my task to drive my Bubie. Since it was the same cemetery where my Zaidie is buried, I figured I would go early, visit his grave, then take off when the unveiling starts and leave Bubie with my parents. So, after breakfast and a shower, I threw on some sweatpants and a t-shirt and got ready to go.

Keep in mind, I live in Zaidie’s house. I feel a certain closeness with him. I think he already sees me shleppy enough, he doesn’t need me to put on a dress after two days of wearing a dress (costume for exam, then Shabbat) to visit his grave.

But, unfortunately, me and time management skills do not go together. We arrived ten minutes before the unveiling, which gave us just enough time to wander around the cemetery until we found the gravesite of the unveiling. Which I had no choice but to stay for. In my “No Hay Muuus” t-shirt I got in Spain with the three cows sitting on barstools.

Halfway through the eulogy, a man with two children silently slipped away. I think that’s when he realized he was at the wrong grave.

Funeral-related events, when I’m not particularly close to the subject of attention, have a similar effect on me as Tisha B’Av, the saddest day of the Jewish calendar. They make me feel strangely giddy. Unlike a simcha, which I sometimes enter with trepidation (I’m wearing a silly dress and must now engage in 5-second conversations with near-strangers, that  consist mostly of formalities), this takes place outside on a beautiful day, I get to see people I like seeing, and I get to avoid talking to people who would judge me for wearing sweatpants. It’s a win-win.

Which is not to say that I don’t like when people get married or celebrate a Bat Mitzvah. I love that too. There’s just something special about people gathering together to help each other mourn after a death. (And I mean no disrespect to the deceased or to funerary etiquette.)

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1 Response to "Day Trip to the Graveyard"

First of all – Baruch Dayan Ha’emet. My heart goes out to your familys friend. May they be blessed with all the comfort they need.

As far as joy at mourning: That’s my experience too. Even and especially on Tisha B’Av. Joy comes knocking on these sad occasions and runs away on happy ones. Sometimes.

Kohelet/Ecclesiastes/Shlomo Ha’Melech says something like this: It’s better to go to a house of mourning that a feast/party.

Found this page about that: http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Judaism/console.html

For me the 9th of Av and a house of mourning seems to be a strong draw to what’s essential and of real value in life. These contexts connect us the heart of Life and it’s preciousness, and that brings a quiet, behind the scenes sort of inner joy.

Parties sometimes go the other way – distracting from what’s of genuine significance, and drawing us on an internal level away from the source of real happiness. Sometimes.

My two cents : )

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