shiva and sky's phobia

I was looking for a good website that would explain "sitting Shivah". I always link to wikipedia, and wanted to change it up a little, you know?

This article is pretty in-depth, and if you just read the first part you'll get the idea. But continue reading, trust me. This is an excerpt from the section on "how to pay a shiva call"...

Here are examples of things not to say:

"How are you?" (They're not so good.)

"I know how you feel." (No you don't. Each person feels a unique loss.)

"At least she lived a long life." (Longer would have been better.)

"It's good that you have other children," or, "Don't worry, you'll have more." (The loss of a child, no matter what age, is completely devastating.)

"Cheer up -- in a few months you'll meet someone new." (He/she has just lost the other half of their soul!)

"Let's talk about happy things." (Maybe later.)

Sorry, it cracked me up. Especially because every single person I've seen in the last 2 days has asked me "how are you" and I've said "okay" every time. Hello, what else do you say?!?

My dad and my uncle are sitting shivah at my grandma's apartment. Sunday I took Sky to the dog park, then spent most of the day there. Mom manned the phone to buzz people up, kept an eye on my dad, and made sure that everything ran smoothly. In my family it's the women who get things done ;-) I was the kiddie/cousin/relative wrangler. And went back to our house to visit Sky, usually while wrangling kids, cousins and/or relatives. Multitasking ;-) Hey, it kept my 3 very, um, active little cousins occupied and away from the adults and out of grandma's fairly small apartment. It was an exhausting day.

In between wrangling though I finished crocheting another knitting needle holder, for myself this time. Grandma taught me to crochet in their apartment and she always liked to see what I was making when I pulled out a project at family gatherings, so I think she'd approve.

Monday I went to the apartment right after work because Joan was there. She took care of grandma basically for the last year, a very special lady. My mom had been at the apartment all day. I told her I'd handle things and kicked her out, so she went home and took a nap. I started knitting a little drawstring purse on size 5 dpns... it's weird, but it was something to do you know?

Tuesday was pretty boring - went to work, went to the apartment, went home and went to sleep.

Today I worked from home to keep Sky company. She was pushy! I went over to the apartment for lunch to visit with everybody, there area always few people before 1 or 2 pm. At 5 o'clock Sky and I went to the park. Sky goes off-leash at the park. She doesn't mess with the random people we meet on the hiking trail, and she plays really well with the other dogs. She is FAST and plenty large enough to either take care of herself or run away, but we've always only seen friendly dogs there.

Something most people don't know about Sky is that she's a big scaredy cat. She's not afraid of a lot of things, but the things she is afraid of... aren't scary. Like tall people. It's kinda ridiculous because a) she's as tall as a tall person herself when she stands on her back legs and b) for as long as we've had her (since 8 weeks old) she's never had a negative encounter with tall people. But it's a known phenomenon in our family, that Sky is scared of tall people. Whatever.

Right when we started our walk, a posse of 12-15 tall, fit guys jogged past us. It looked like they were on some sort of team, you know, like crew or basketball or whatever. In training. I wasn't scared that Sky would molest them, more like go home with them, but she stuck really close to me. It was weird... and then she stayed close even after they left and didn't frolick like she usually does (yes, frolick, my dog prances. J's trying to toughen her up). She only left my side to go running back along the trail and look at me like, "hey let's go this way! I wanna go home." Poor Sky! Luckily a few minutes later a couple of normal-sized woman came jogging by. Sky realized that not all joggers are giants and she stopped being so paranoid. It was funny.

I'm probably forgetting a ton of things but I'm really tired... and going to sleep. G'night! Oh shoot, remind me to tell you guys the latest on the shower. Oy.


Janet said...

The comment I couldn't stand (and the most frequent) when my mother died was "you must be so relieved" - all I felt was utter devastation. And then terrible guilt because, even though I didn't want her to be in pain I'd take her that way if it was a choice between that and not having her at all. We're all so different and grief does some wacky stuff to our heads, the right thing to say to one person is often the wrong thing to say to another. You can't win!

Poor Sky, my dog is terrified of the bell on the icecream truck!

Your week sounds exhausting, hope you get some sleep!

Jennifer said...

I try to stick with "I'm sorry for your loss". That seems to work for any person and any religion. It amazes me how people can just say the dumbest things sometimes though.

Kim B said...

We've been hearing a lot of "How are you guys doing?" The answer is obvious - we're sad - but sometimes people just don't know what else to say. Jennifer is right though "Sorry for your loss" is always a good way to go!

I think it's amazing that the Jewish culture has a mourning routine. What a special way to honor someone and to grieve together as a family.

Sky sounds like a riot!