Me, Sher, and Ad

Me, Sher, and Ad
Bro Adam and sis Sher, my rocks!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Funerals Make for Bittersweet Reunions

Last night I went to a viewing in Pottstown, PA, for a former coworker’s husband. She lost him to a particularly aggressive cancer. He was diagnosed in October and passed away February 6th, 2012. He was only 43 years old. Just too young to be taken by such a vicious disease.

I came down to pay my respects at the viewing. I am always momentarily taken aback by an open casket viewing as I have not been to too many. The person who has passed away may look ‘good’,  at least as far as how well the funeral home helps him to look ‘good’. My friend’s husband looked ‘good’ considering what he apparently went through. I have been to others where the person who passed on was completely unrecognizable.

Most people know that I am of the Jewish faith. In traditional Judaism, there is no viewing of the body and no open casket.  I remember seeing my Nana’s coffin was back in the late 70's: a beautiful simple polished maple coffin with the Star of David on it. In Judaism, caskets are normally simple and without adornment. The body is wrapped in a white prayer shawl and buried that way. Of course, this is the traditional burial custom and many have softened their views on this in the last several decades depending on how religious they are. My mother was cremated which technically is forbidden in Jewish law. But this is what she wanted and we honored that. I don’t feel any less of a Jew for it nor do I consider her any less of a Jew.

Several people at my former employer's have passed away in the last couple years. It is enough to notice. As a result, I have these bittersweet reunions with my former coworkers, not unlike the same type of reunions which happen amongst family members when a beloved grandparent, aunt, or uncle passes away. People come out of the woodwork to pay their respects and have reunions which were years in the making.

It was great seeing my coworkers though. They are a small group of women that I have grown particularly fond of. We meet usually before or after the events, have a bite to each, a drink to take off the stress of attending such a somber occasion, another drink to toast our friend that has passed on. For such a sad reason to get together, at least I can say I had a real nice time seeing them. We do always joke about the reason we are getting together. Last night, my friend Alicia commented “We need to really stop meeting under these types of circumstances.”  We all laughed nervously and then caught up on each other’s lives.

Anyway, after the bite to eat, we went down to the funeral home for the viewing. It was somber, as it should be. I shed tears for my friend’s husband, I shed tears for other friends who have passed, and I shed tears for my mother. These days, going to other’s funerals and viewings always brings up sad memories of my own losses. A reality of getting older I guess. It happens, but it’s still so sad each time. I am thankful though, for the comfort of friends and family to get through those difficult times. I started tearing up talking about Mom’s death and my friend Krista put her arm around my shoulder and gave me a reassuring squeeze of support. At that moment, that was just what I needed.


  1. Yes, Marc, You really got this one right. As we get older and start losing our Family and friends, it's a very sobering thing. All we can do until our time has come, is to Laugh, Love and Live life to it's fullest.

  2. This is a hard thing to write about. You did a god job, Marc. I'm sure this will touch a chord with a lot who read it.

  3. Thanks Skip and Muriel. I got alot of positive feedback on this article. It is a tough subject to handle but it was somthing that I had wanted to sincerely write about.

  4. Mom's can never be replaced...the love in one's heart for mom never always remembered...and is always missed...thanks again for sharing...and for allowing me to, once again, love my mom, God rest her soul.

  5. Marc,

    Thank you so much for writing this.and your right this is a tough subject to talk about but we have alot to be thankful for , your mother and my husband will tuly be missed.