Reflections on Shiva

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Yahrtzeit Candle
19 Nov 2018

Having completed the shiva period commemorating the tragic loss of my 33-year-old wife following her eight year-long battle with cancer, I would like to offer a few personal reflections regarding the shiva process. I have no resentment towards anyone. I was, and remain to be, overwhelmed by the love and support shown to our entire family. These comments are meant to be personal reflections, which I hope others will find helpful when making decisions regarding how to properly comfort mourners.

  1. Show Up

I cannot emphasize enough how uniquely meaningful it was to see each and every person who walked through the door. There were some people whom I expected to show up, but many, many more whom I did not. People from every stage of our lives came to demonstrate their support and—without exception—every visitor added to my sense of consolation and connection with the world. As expected, some of the guests who were closer to me or to my wife were able to provide a more acute form of comfort, but that certainly did not diminish the cumulative level of support offered by each individual condoler—regardless of their affiliation to our family. Some drove many hours just to sit for a few minutes, share a story, and/or give a hug before driving right back home. While sitting shivain New York, we had visitors from: Israel, Switzerland, England, Illinois, South Carolina, Florida, Colorado, Utah, and California. It is exceptionally moving, meaningful, and reassuring to be surrounded by the type of people who are willing to go to such great lengths to show love and support.

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The words of this author reflect his/her own opinions and do not necessarily represent the official position of the Orthodox Union.