Overtaken by events

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader finds himself somewhat overtaken by events. This is to say that he’s had lots to think about over the past few day - and lots to do. Family stuff has been rather busy (lots of sporting events, yard-work, and parenting to take care of). Additionally your Maximum Leader has been feeling rather funky. Part of this is due to the condition of Kevin’s mom. I’m nearly 40 years old and have known Kevin’s mom for nearly 34 of those 40 years. Her recent brain surgery, her upcoming treatment, and her long-term prognosis has been wearing on me emotionally.

I also discovered last week that a good friend of mine was diagnosed with terminal liver cancer. He was given about a month to live. I had planned on seeing him today. Sadly, he died on Saturday night. He was buried today. My friend, Irwin, lived a good long life (he was 78). He went like he lived - fast and without indecision. I would have liked to have a few words with him. But I don’t know that he or I would have anything substantive to say to one another. I don’t feel regret that I didn’t get a chance to speak with him. I am saddened however because it would have been nice to let him know that I was thinking about him.

Irwin was what I would classify as a non-observant Jew. There was a Jewish ceremony at the graveside. It was the first such ceremony I’d ever attended. At the end the family and friends were invited to deposit a small shovel of dirt into the grave. Although I’ve been to a number of funerals, this was the first time I’d ever encountered this act of participation. At most other graveside services the prayers and songs are sung and then people depart leaving the work of actual burial to the gravediggers. Today I felt something good in putting that small shovel of dirt into the grave. I can’t really describe it. It was both comforting and closing. As the Rabbi presiding mentioned, the act was the last thing we could do for our friend. It was also described as an act for which the Irwin was unable to thank us. Those words were particularly striking. I will remember them for a long time.

There is not much else to mention here. Your Maximum Leader hopes to get back to some regular posting soon. Sorry for letting old posts linger here for so long.

Carry on.

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