Thursday, June 10, 2010

Lillian's Memorial Service

Lillian family gathered today to remember her life, and see her casket lowered into the earth.

Rabbi Gretz conducted the service.  

At Lillian's daughter Joan's request, he paid tribute to Lillian's astrology practice, starting by comparing the dead to stars.  Just as starlight reaches our planet from faraway and long ago, the memories of those who have gone touches the living.  And he pointed out that many of the Jewish sages were interested in astrology, there's actually a whole section of the Talmud devoted to the topic.

Rabbi Gretz recounted some highlights of Lillian's life that have become obscured by the illnesses of old age.  Her relationship with Esther was the epitome of sibling devotion. As for her three children, he quoted from the psalm: "A women of valor who can find, her children will rise up to praise her."

Lillian was also extremely strong willed, which is part of the reason she could overcome childhood polio.  She cared for her husband Martin until his death.  Maybe she didn't set the world on fire, but then few of us do.  We're all mortal.  The great love she shared with each of us was a blessing.

After the casket was lowered, Rabbi Gretz made a final observation: Death is the passing of life; life is the stringing together of many small passages.

Then the service broke up, and we stood around in conversational clusters, talking and thinking about large and small transitions.  Lillian's daughter Joan, a retired postal worker enjoying a 2nd career as a professional clown and "silly person," handed out white helium filled balloons to the children.  When she gave the word, the children released them, and we watched them float up, become specks lost against the brilliant white clouds, and disappear.

Esther would like everybody to know how much she appreciated the Rabbi's

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