Sunshine and a new puppy

New puppy

Dogs need walking every day.  Every morning since Dad’s funeral,  I have dragged myself out the door, and Gus and I have spent our usual hour striding across the fields and through the neighbourhood together.  It has been good for me.  Using my body and breathing in the fresh air has helped me to feel better physically,  and, as usual, walking with Gus has given me the chance to process and reflect on the events of the past few days.

As you know, the weather this week has been beautiful.  I have stopped many times at the top of the hill and basked in the morning sunshine.  I have smelled the changes in the air and noticed the leaves beginning to turn colour and drop from the trees.  Fall is my favourite time of year, and it is arriving on schedule once again.

On my first day out this week, I felt a sense of  disbelief that everything could look so beautiful, when my world had been blown apart.  As we walked our route, I felt myself wanting to scream at the people strolling and driving by, to say, “don’t you know what has happened!”  Then I came to accept that, of course, they don’t.  I was hit by the realization that the rest of the world is continuing on as though nothing is different at all.

The gaping hole that my family is struggling with, and this sense of being thrown off balance are confined to our own tiny piece of this vast universe we all inhabit together.  I know for sure that, in a million other places on earth right now, there are countless others coping with a similar reality, and with so many other issues of so many different types.  And yet, through it all, the sun comes up each morning as it has every other day.  The earth revolves and life goes on, as it should.

Jewish tradition dictates that we observe a period of shiva, or mourning, when a loved one dies.  Since the funeral, my family has been at our parents’ house, receiving friends and relatives, and being comforted and supported by so many wonderful people who are part of our lives.  While the shiva traditionally lasts seven days, ours had to be cut short because the celebration of the New Year, Rosh HaShanah, began at sundown last night. The custom to mark the end of the shiva requires the family to leave the house together, and to walk around the block, symbolizing our re-entry into the rest of the community.

Yesterday morning as we all strolled quietly together up the street from Mom and Dad’s house, we noticed some neighbours outside.  They were welcoming home their brand new puppy.  She is so new that they haven’t even picked out a name for her yet.  As you can see from the photo above, I couldn’t resist taking her in my arms and snuggling her for a moment.  As I held her close, it suddenly occurred to me:  a new life, a new year, a new beginning. . .

To all my family and friends,  Shana Tova Umetukah

I wish you all a good and sweet New Year.