The Funeral

The boy was only just a man, by Jewish standards. His voiced cracked with youth and emotion as he promised the worship hall filled with mourners that he was not going to cry.

The sound of a thousand hearts breaking at once was deafening.

The Rabbi’s eulogy was the kind of speech that honored not only the departed, but the emotions of those grieving as well. He made space for the laughter, the sadness, and the rage that often accompany a death. In a huge room, sitting shoulder to shoulder, there was space.

We all needed it.

Of course, I was one of the heartbroken sitting in the back of the worship hall in the synagogue. I was staring at the thin, vertical blocks of brightly colored stained glass high above on the wall behind the Torah Ark when a thought occurred to me.

Heartbreak is a such a bastard, but it can also be so beautiful, can’t it?

Here I was, listening to the cantor sing “Turn! Turn! Turn!” (which I never realized was actually text from the third chapter of Ecclesiastes), followed by bits and pieces of poetry, poignant prose, wavering voices. Tributes. The sniffles of tears were being fought back all around me.

All I could think was how goddamn beautiful it was. And that’s just how he would have wanted it.

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