Today's post was supposed to be a fluffy little piece about my daughters' prom woes. (don't worry, it'll post eventually.)
Today Becca was supposed to miss school so that she and her dad could take a look at one of the colleges that accepted her.
Today Jen was supposed to be in classes, eat in the dining hall and sleep in her dorm.
Today I was supposed to enjoy a business lunch in a fine restaurant in lower Manhattan.
Instead, my daughters and I -- and my sisters and parents -- will attend a funeral.
My mother's younger sister passed away in the wee hours of Saturday morning.
My aunt's death was not unexpected. she fell ill early in february, and got progressively worse until the inevitable happened.
My daughters are no strangers to the rituals of death, of mourning and loss. They've been to the funeral of a schoolmate, a young man who died so tragically in an auto accident. (Jen amazed her non-Jewish friends with her ability to read the Hebrew prayers.) and they've both had freinds who lost a grandparent, or a parent. But still, they have never been "the mourners", the last time there was a death in our close family was my grandmother, back when Jen was in kindergarten. (how lucky we have been!)
so today my children experience a new role, one I'd prefer they didn't have, but yet one that is just so important ...how they handle this death will likely set the stage for how they handle other deaths of close family members.
their experiences are so different from my own. my parents chose to shield us as much as possible from funerals and mourning...I remember seeing my parent sit shiva for relatives, I remember attending unveilings of their grave stones, but I never attended a relative's funeral until I was an adult, a married woman approachng my 30th birthday. maybe that's why I felt so ill-equipped to deal with it at the time.
and yet now I find great comfort in the words of the Kaddish. Yitgadal v'yitgadash....as I recite it today in memory of a beloved aunt, the ritual prayers of our people will let me realize we are not alone in our mourning.
And I hope that my children will understand, and be comforted as well.