Wednesday, November 11, 2009


Life is so fragile.

We all know this concept. It mostly dwells deep in the crevices of our mind. But every so often, something concrete happens and we are reminded, at the bitter surface, just how fragile life is.

And yet, when this reminder surfaces and forces us to face a harsh reality, we are not supposed to carry it with us every minute of every waking hour. We are supposed to bury this idea of the tenderness of life, back into the depths of our brains, so that we do not live our lives constantly concerned about what is lurking around the corner for ourselves and our loved ones.

I personally have a hard time with this, with the part of reburying it. I tend to dwell on the fragility of life and consume my time deathly afraid of whether or not something tragic can or will unexpectedly happen in my family. Then I just pray. I pray that G-d does not touch my friends and family with any tragedy or sorrow, and I try to move on. And I am fine, until the next reminder of the fragility of life, and ..... well, its a vicious cycle really.

A day ago, a 61 year old man in my community,a husband, father, grandfather - seemingly healthy, unexpectedly lost his life.

I grew up across the street from this man. He and his wife were still living in the same home right across from my parents home. Their house was the one I went to, when I got home from school and realized I was a latchkey child that day. I played baseball with their sons in front of our house. But now that I am married, with kids, living blocks away, I only see him on an extremely random basis. Frankly, I think whole years have gone by and I do not really see them.

But this past weekend - I saw him twice.

I was at the grocery store Saturday night, when a friend of my parents approached me to ask me about a kosher symbol on a box of ice cream. When I did not have the answer, he looked down the aisle and spotted someone else who may have the answer.

"Rabbi P."

he called...

And Rabbi P. looked up with a smile.

On Sunday, it was a beautiful November day here in Chicago. It was a delicious 70 degrees. I decided to take Bam for a walk, from my house to Target. It is quite a distance from my house, but I have been jogging 5 miles lately, so this walk on this gorgeous day would be nothing.

On the way, I stopped at my parents home for a visit. When I left, there was Rabbi P., across the street in front of his home. He was taking advantage of the surprisingly mild temperatures and was raking leaves into a black garbage bag. When our eyes met, I nodded as if to say hello and he returned the nod. He looked his usual slim and healthy self.

That was Sunday morning. Monday evening, he was playing racquetball with his son at a local community center, where he collapsed, never to return home.

To see someone, so alive and vibrant and healthy looking one day, and hear of their sudden demise, the next, is quite a shock. But no one could be more shocked then his wife and sons. My heart goes out to them. It is a testament to the fragility of life.

And yet, for the rest of us -

Life goes on.

7 have shown Orah a little love:

Rayli said...

Oh my god Orah. I am sooo sorry. That is so sad. well written. I love this post.

Yaffa/Yitz said...


Heidi @ Tayterjaq's Rebels said...

That is so sad. We will keep his family and friends in our prayers.

Anonymous said...

Very sad, very sad. Heard about this from someone on FB.
It's terribly frightening when someone is seemingly healthy and all of a sudden, they are gone. You never know in life.
- Miss S.

elisha said...

very sad and moving.

Candice said...

You made some excellent points in your post.

I'm sorry about your friend. said...

Wow, what a shock.

I feel so sad for his family and all who mourn his loss.

It's hard to be naive when a seemingly healthy man dies at age 61.

My condolences.