News that a friend’s wife has died has left me in a
reflective mood on this Passover/Easter weekend.
She was in her late-sixties, her husband my age – close
to 70 – and they had been together for over forty years, the best part of an adult
life. I can only imagine what an awful
wrench the parting must have been. Actually,
I don’t want to imagine it – not on this bright, this crystalline spring
morning, as my wife of 34 years happily potters about the kitchen preparing
dinner for tonight’s Seder.
My friend, a religious man, will cope with the loss of
course, as everyone in the history of mankind, without exception, has been
obliged to cope with it. But it leaves
me pondering yet again that the Divine Creator in which he believes must have
been something of a sadist to devise a system in which the long, joyful,
lifetime relationship such as the one he and his wife enjoyed can only ever end
in grief and torment. How the DC might
have improved on the present unsatisfactory system I am ill-equipped to
conceive. I shall give it some thought.
We make ourselves feel better at funeral services by
proclaiming them as a ‘celebration’ of the life of the deceased. But all of us in the congregation know that
it is no such thing, no matter how hard we try to convince ourselves otherwise.
Meanwhile, Life Goes On.
England’s cricketers have a test match to win in Sri Lanka (we
were not doing so well the last time I looked) and I have a life-affirming task
of planting some bulbs.
Oh, and I must sort out the wines for tonight’s
dinner. Yes, I know we’re supposed to
serve the concoction made from concord grape, labeled as Kosher for Pesach, but
I’m a non-believer, as are several others at the table. So I’m going to risk offending the Almighty
by serving something decent. I usually
disguise the fact by decanting the stuff and placing the sacrilegious vessel in
front of the places assigned to the goyim.
My late father-in-law, raised in an Orthodox family,
once caught me in the act. After much
tut-tutting he offered to say a prayer for me.
I wish he were still with us. My
wife, ten years after his passing, misses him still on these occasions. So do I.
What a nuisance death is.