My World is Updating
My dear colleague and mentor, Lee Salmon, passed away last week. At the funeral people shared stories about his contributions to the coaching profession, sustainability efforts, and his love for his family. He was the type of person who was always able to stand strong behind his values and make anyone feel comfortable and welcomed (especially with his great bear hug greetings). The ceremony was a celebration of his life and a way to seek comfort on the reality that Lee is no longer with us.
Fast forward to Sunday, the day after the funeral. All parents of 4th grade students in my synagogue were asked to attend Sunday School with their kids as there was a special session on “Death and Dying.” Timely, huh? I was curious about what they were going to teach us and was also looking for some comfort for my recent loss. The session focused on teaching parents how to talk about Death and Dying with their kids. Because the topic of death is so difficult for most adults, kids often suffer by not being told the truth, not being able to express real concerns or questions, and not being included in the conversations and mourning process. The messages were wonderful. Be open with your kids, don’t feel that you have to have all the answers, and give your child space to ask questions, feel hurt or just be comforted. There was one message, however, that really stuck with me. In the Jewish tradition, the mourners “sit Shiva” for 7 days after the person is buried. The family members open their house for others to come in and keep them company for seven days. People share stories, cry, laugh, eat, eat some more, comfort each other and support the family who is experiencing the greatest loss. At this session, however, I learned a little more to this tradition. There is a significance to the seven days. The Rabbi explained that it took God seven days to create the world and when you lose a loved one, it’s as if you have lost your world. To which my son leans over to me and whispers, “Mom, so it’s like the time it takes for the world to update?” This was a beautiful statement. I went in to the Sunday School workshop thinking how I would learn to comfort my children when dealing with death and I left feeling comforted by the words of my son.
So, as I think of Lee over the next seven days (and beyond), I will reflect on how much his presence and contributions changed the world we live in and recognize that I need to be patient as the world updates without him in our presence.
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