Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Such Is Life

Sunset over Jerusalem.
The sun doesn't go down, it's the world that keeps on turning.
We live on the third floor of an apartment building. Directly below us on the second floor are a young family who just welcomed their third daughter into the world. And on the first floor, directly below them, are a couple in their late 50s with grown up children and baby grandchildren.

On DD's birthday, as we went downstairs to go to school in the morning, we noticed a big colourful poster on the door of the family on the second floor. WELCOME HOME TO MUMMY AND OUR BABY SISTER! We smiled and said that we must go in and visit next week and take a gift.

We left the building and outside in the parking area we saw a small marquee with the sign 'Sukkat Avelim'. It means 'Mourners' Shelter'. I looked to see where the electric cable from the roof of the marquee went into the building and saw that it was attached via the balcony of the couple on the first floor.

My heart sank as I understood what had happened. Although there were no notices up yet I had met the wife in the supermarket last week and she told me her son was in hospital. Had an elderly grandparent died, they would have not have needed a tent. But when a young man with a family of his own dies, there are more mourners and more friends who come to visit and comfort during the week of shiva.

By the time I got home from school and was rushing out to collect DD and her friends for the birthday supper, the notices were up. I had been right. Michael was was a young family man with four babies - two sets of twins all under four years old.

The funeral had been in the morning and the street around our building was full of tearful friends and family. My neighbour came out of the tent. I hugged her, "I'm so sorry, I'm so sorry," was all I could say. We all assumed he would be ok. He was young, there are babies, he was in the hospital, the hospital makes you better doesn't it?

I popped into their apartment on my way upstairs to say a few words to her husband and then ran up to dump my bag and do a quick change of clothes. On my way back out I met the new father on the second floor. I wished him Mazal Tov and we walked out together, through the mourners to the street.

He drove off to collect his wife and new baby from the hospital and I went to celebrate DD's birthday. Such is life.


  1. Such is life indeed but so hard at times to have to celebrate and sympathise at the same time.

  2. It's the circle of life - and death - unfortunately. How sad for your neighbours and for the wife and 4 little girls - it just doesn't seem fair.
    A friend of mine has just had to cancel plans we had for Friday as a good friend of her husband has died rather suddenly - only 44. He too leaves a wife and 2 children. I think we are prepared once someone reaches a certain age but it's always such a shock when it is someone younger - and even more so when they leave a young family behind. Very sad.

    1. Yes, I don't know how they will cope with 4 babies and one parent.

  3. Such a sad post. It has certainly given me something to think about today.

    1. I know, I've been thinking about it constantly all week.