Rough day today.
Spent the morning at a funeral for a student of mine, a great woman in her 40's - mother, wife, physician, ubervolunteer - who died of a vicious, merciless, excruciating disease, called scleroderma.
She came to weekly classes for years, always with a smile, always with an interest in others, an interest which persisted even as her health declined, even as she spent weeks at a time in the hospital. A giving person. A do-er. A lover of Judaism and Jewish education. A tolerant and always-respectful person. A good human being.
I want to leave her seat vacant in class this year, but I don't think I will. Too ghoulish. And it'll disturb me every time I look at it.
Besides, it would be a better tribute to have someone new come and sit in it. That would suit her style.
I was glad that I wasn't forced to officiate today, since she wasn't a member of my synagogue. I was offered the chance to say tehillim, but I declined. Cowardice? Maybe, but I never saw our friendship as rabbi-congregant, and I spend too much crying in the public eye as it is. Let me have some grief of my own. (Says the man who is now blogging about it... but somehow this is different.)
So that was midday. Then, as the funeral was ending, I received a call about a friend/congregant in his 80's who is undergoing health problems and lots of pain, and is having surgery today.
Came back to the office to take care of some tasks and had someone stop in to talk about a project. She thought it was funny that I was in a bad mood, tried to lighten me up. Didn't have the heart to explain why, so I just laughed it off.
I hate days like this.
Still, as they say, better than some of the alternatives... Thank Gd I have what I have.
A la the Rav's philosophy: We don't spend a lot of time asking Why. Instead we ask what we can do now.