A great tradition

Friday, November 24, 2006

I went to a funeral this morning. My cousin Jonathan (The oldest son of my grandmother’s sister, I can never remember what that’s called, but I’ve always thought of his as just plain cousin, not ‘removed’ or ‘second’ or whatever the proper term is) died on Tuesday. It was a nice funeral, and I got to see some family I don’t see very often. While it would be nice to see them more on happier occasions, it’s still nice to see them.

Jonathan was from the Jewish half of my family, and there’s a great tradition at Jewish funerals. The service beforehand is not terribly different from Christian services that I’ve been to, and that most of you are likely to be familiar with. But those who haven’t been to a Jewish internment are missing out on a great tradition. They have a little shovel and a little pile of dirt by the grave, and family and friends line up and each toss a little dirt on the coffin. It’s one last little good deed you can do for the person you cared about, and I think it’s a great way to give the mourners a sense of closure, that they’ve helped put the person to rest.

One of Jonathan’s best qualities was that he always remembered to ask about the people who weren’t there. And more than just ask, he honestly cared how they were doing. If I saw him, and my siblings weren’t there, he’d want to know how they were doing. It’s one of those things that seemed small when he was alive, but now I realize how much I appreciated it.

I’m glad I went to the service, and got to do one last good deed for him. He will certainly be missed.

Posted in: Personal