Monday, August 18, 2008

Learning experience

My aunt's funeral was quite the learning experience. I hadn't been to a Jewish funeral since my uncle JuJu died when I was 13, and I hardly remember anything from that. Most of the service was in hebrew, which I don't understand at all. The problem with stopping hebrew school when you hit age 10 is that you don't learn much of anything. I felt a bit stupid, but got over it pretty quickly. Thankfully the cantor did explain a lot to us (like the fact that we did stop in the procession 7 times), and then we had the opportunity to participate in the actual burial. The shovel was in the mound of dirt, and we had to do it twice, once with the shovel upside down (so you get little dirt- showing hesitance), and then once the right way. After the funeral on Friday, there was a brunch- which was alcohol free- a first for the Jay family. In the evening, we went over to my cousins house (her mom is the one who passed), and had a huge dinner. We lit a candle that will burn for 7 days, did shots of scotch, and then continued to eat and drink heavily for the remainder of the evening.

I did get to spend a lot of time with my dad, grandmother, cousins, and aunt/uncles. My brother and I spend tons of time together too, which was awesome because we've always had an odd relationship. He even took me out for a drink one afternoon while my mom watched the kids. It was really great to just sit and chat. He and my dad haven't spoken since my wedding (over 6 years ago), and he actually spent a good amount of time with all of us as well. Everyone was really great.

It was all heartbreaking though. Seeing my cousin, her dad, and my grandmother filled with grief. Relieved that my aunt isn't suffering anymore, but missing her. I cannot imagine how hard it is to have to bury your child/mother/spouse. I hope I don't have to do any of those ever (or at the very least for a very long time).

Here's a picture of my aunt that was taken last January when we went to Las Vegas. From left to right, we have Ari, Hope, Lauren, my Aunt Debbie, Melissa and me. What a fun trip, and I'm now even more glad that I was able to go. All I have now are fantastic memories of the time we all spent as family, both then, and when I was younger. I'll never forget sitting on the toilet, watching her put her makeup on in the mornings while she got ready. And the times I flew down to Florida when I was on spring break to visit her. The shopping we did together, the great meals we shared. How she got me hooked on scotch sours as an 18 year old at my cousin Melissa's wedding. And how, even when she was very ill, she still managed to send me a birthday card this year, and a gift for Seth when he was born. I'll miss her.