Thursday, January 14, 2016


First, David Bowie.  No, I wasn't particularly a fan but knew that he was important to and influential for so many of my friends.

Then, today, Alan Rickman.

Snape, oh Snape.

But also Colonel Brandon and Truly, Madly, Deeply and the Sheriff of Nottingham and, of course, Harry in Love Actually.

What a voice, what a face, what a talent.

I am sad that we won't get to see what he could have done in the next decade or two, like Maggie Smith or Derek Jacobi or Ian McKlellen or Patrick Stewart or Judi Dench or Helen Mirren.

I am sad for his family and friends.

We will remember him, we will love him.


And then, on a personal level, the husband of my friend and hospice chaplaincy mentor died suddenly this week.  Completely out of the blue.  And I am so sorry for her.  Tonight, I went to sit shiva with the family and to participate in the saying of prayers, particularly the mourner's kaddish.  I hadn't been to shiva before (and was sorry to miss the actual funeral--we had the kids' winter concert yesterday) and read about it on, which was probably more observant than I needed for this Reform family.  It was a lovely gathering of family, friends, and co-workers in a house that so reminded me of my Aunt Sis's.  The widow was still very much in shock, running the vicissitudes of telling stories and sobbing and being unable to speak; even though she is a hospice chaplain, she noted that it still took her unprepared.  I'm not sure you can ever be totally prepared, even if it is your job and calling.

What can you do in the face of grief?   I'm so sorry.  I don't know what to say.  I'm sorry I never met him.  I'm thinking of you.  Or, as one mourner said, "This sucks."   I held her.  I stood by.  I listened.  I shared my tissues.  What else can you do in the face of such grief?  And I cried all the way home, listening to my Les Miz soundtrack.

"And remember the truth that once was spoken:  to love another person is to see the face of God."

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