Monday, December 16, 2013

Hearing. Remembering. Knowing.

"And God heard their groaning, and God remembered... God looked at the Israelites, and God knew." -Exodus 2:24-25

He was supposed to grow old.

He was supposed to bicker with his siblings, struggle through puberty, wrestle with his bar mitzvah portion, and struggle, as we all do, to make meaning of our lives.

He was supposed to go to the movies with his friends, and stay out too late and get in trouble, and crash his dad's car and worry about the trouble he'd be in when all his parents would care about was that he was safe.

He was supposed to be invincible, convinced of his own youth and vibrance, and embrace the world as his own.

He should have found a partner in life, a calling that gave him joy. There should have been children and grandchildren.

He should have closed his parents' eyes, supported and been supported by his brothers and sisters as they said kaddish, many years from now.

He was surrounded with love. He was laid to rest in the snow, his family encircled by friends, family, teachers and students, colleagues and dear ones, each crying out with a voice loud enough for God to hear. He was remembered with tears and laughter. He was remembered as a special, wise, loving little boy.

I don't know how to comfort his parents, whom I love. I don't know how to help them grieve any more than my brief, inadequate trip to Chicago, a glance, an embrace, standing together in the snow.

But this I know. It shouldn't have happened that way. We shouldn't have been there.

He was supposed to grow old.

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