It has been a difficult two weeks due to family losses.
One of my Bar Mitzvah Families lost a grandparent, three months before the Bar Mitzvah Ceremony; and one of my congregants lost a family member.
So, why do I say “I am blessed?” I feel this way because when I get asked to conduct a funeral or a memorial service, I find out about the person who passed away from different perspectives from the members of the families. For example, I meet with as many people as possible from the family at somebody’s home so I can write a proper eulogy. I find out about the history of the person; the relationship with the spouse, children, grandchildren, etc. I include as much as I can tastefully without taking too long at the service. I have found out about so many different people regarding their lives during the depression, WWII, Korean War, the 1960’s, etc. Not only do I learn about the person who passed away, but I learn about other members of the family. I have learned about beautiful love stories; stories about heroes; shaky relationships between spouses, as well as between between parents and children; beautiful grandparent/grandchildren relationships. I learn about how most of the people I speak about performed tikun olam and mitzvot, to make our world a better place.
Many times, these people become roll-models for me. Not just the family who suffered the loss, but the deceased.
Sometimes the children of the deceased seem so proud of what their parents and grandparents did for their families and others. I could hope hope it carries on l’dor vador, from generation to generation.
Somebody once told me I should publish a book of the eulogies I write. Maybe one day I will.
Let us learn from those who came before us and stand on their shoulders.