Related Blog Posts on Death and Mourning
The following poem, from Al Vorspan's posthumously published "Scrapbook Memoir," offers insight into aging with humor and grace – plus an important, biblical life lesson at the every end.
"Let me one day soon wake up to praise Your name first and not to think about tragedy and fear. Let all humanity arise from slumber and fight injustice wherever it may occur."
I wonder: Do souls see and remember? Are they aware of what goes on among the living? Do they have feelings? Are they close with God? Do they only see and connect with people they love? Does this connection last for eternity?
She had tended me during my bad feelings. I had held her hand during hers. Her gift of language comforted me until the very end, even without being able to hear her voice. And now, I am left with memories.
I was 20 when I learned that my first love had committed suicide. His death shattered me, both mentally and emotionally – but it also saved my life. You see, in the months leading up to his suicide, I had been planning my own.
I wrote this poem in honor of a dear man, a beloved pillar of my synagogue who died last week, thinking "after the words, after the music, after our very breath - what comes after that we can continue to praise God?"
On my trip to Disneyland, I missed Papa intensely as we rode through the brightly colored, musical attraction, but our seventh graders filled the boat with so much singing and laughing that made it uplifting in a way that Papa would have appreciated.
To Dust is Reform Jewish filmmaker Shawn Snyder’s raw, personal love letter to Judaism – and especially to Jewish mourning and interpersonal connection.