Sitting Shiva

September 16, 2010 at 11:50 pm | Posted in funeral, mourning, traditions | 4 Comments

I am uncertain about my religious beliefs these days – especially since Sawyer passed away.   However, I am very certain that I really appreciate the Jewish mourning customs.   As I mentioned in this post, I am a big fan of the shomerim.  Another Jewish custom that I appreciated was that funerals must be held as soon as possible.   Jake’s funeral was approximately 30 hours after he passed away.

As we left the funeral two rows of people formed.  Evan and I walked through the rows and for the first time I was distracted from my vision of Jake’s casket.   The friends and family surrounded us to offer their condolences.   I had not realized until this point that Jake had impacted so many people. 

After the funeral it is the Jewish custom to sit shiva.  “Shiva” is derived from the word sheva which means seven.   Shiva is the mourning period during the first seven days following a death.  I cannot imagine what would have happened to me and Evan if we had come home from Jake’s funeral to an empty house.   The fact that friends and family were at our house constantly during those first few days was so helpful (not to mention it probably kept me from completely losing it. . .).

In the back of my brain I knew that there would be a day, not so far from then that I would be alone in the house.   Evan would go back to work.  Friends and family would go about their lives (as they should).  I would have to figure out what was next.  How would I get through the days and the nights in a world without Jake (and now Sawyer)?  But, that day – the day of Jake’s funeral I did not have to think about the days ahead.   I felt a bit like Scarlett O’Hara when she wanted to escape reality.   “I can’t think about that right now. If I do, I’ll go crazy. I’ll think about that tomorrow.”


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  1. I agree. it’s a beautiful custom.

  2. The importance of community.

  3. Being surrounded by friends and family is a real blessing.

  4. It is indeed, one custom that I think makes a difference for all who partake. And your family and friends were all glad to be there.

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