Monday, August 31, 2009

It's not fair

For once, I'm not talking about my life. My friend Bina's mother passed away, less than 10 months after Bina lost her father. The funeral was yesterday. I love seeing Bina, especially since she moved out to Yennensville (that's Yiddish for "the boondocks"), but not under these circumstances.

It's especially tragic that Bina's nephew is getting married today. Normally I'd just be envious that someone less than half my age is getting married, but I only feel compassion for him. His aunt and uncle won't be there; his father will, but probably can't be too joyous. It's not fair.

I've never cried so much at the funeral of somebody I never met. I cried every time I looked at Bina and saw how much pain she's in. All I could do was hold her hand or put my arm around her alarmingly bony shoulders.

Especially alarming since Bina is pregnant, due in January. B'sha-ah tovah. I know she and Asher wanted another child and had been trying. Why couldn't her mother survive a few more months to see this latest grandchild? It's not fair.

At my uncle's funeral, a"h, I made a lot of jokes during my eulogy and they seemed to go over well. I wanted people to laugh, because he was a very funny person and it felt more appropriate to remember him with laughter than tears. So I tried to cheer Bina up yesterday.

"That kid with the blue shirt is your nephew, right?" I asked. He stood out, not only because he is insanely hot but because he wasn't dressed in the black/white ultra-orthodox uniform worn by so many of the funeral cortege.

"Yes," Bina said.

"Chatich," I said. (That's Hebrew for "hottie.") Bina giggled. Encouraged, I pressed on. "If I were 10 years younger..."

"He's about 21 now," said Bina.

"If I were 10 years younger..." I repeated in a tone of infinite regret. Bina laughed. Yes, it was inappropriate, but it made her laugh and feel a little better.

My next joke was even more questionable -- but Bina and I know each other very well, so I went ahead with it.

"You're due in January?" I asked. She nodded. "Well, at least you won't need to think too hard about baby names," I said, and held my breath. (Jews tend to name babies after departed relatives, so whether Bina has a boy or a girl, she can name the child after a parent.)

Bina laughed and hugged me. Phew. A little black humor flies. Go figure.

Alona was also in attendance, as was Ozer and a few of Bina's other friends. I was glad we could be there for her. I hope Asher makes her eat during shiva, and thereafter.
Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"


  1. You're a good friend. Don't worry, it sounds like your comments were received in the spirit they were made.

    But nobody ever said life was fair...


  2. I think you did great. People need to know they don't have to pretend, and that close friends are with them, regardless.

  3. Ayelet, you already know, i think conclusively, that life is not "fair" and yet select fairness in the title of your blog.

    As a point of fact, your blog only mentions "fair" one single time.

    As a reader, I would like a more complete analysis as to what you do consider fair.

  4. THIS is fair:

    Blundering Afghan suicide bomber blows up 6 militants
    Thu Mar 26, 2009 9:58am EDT

    KABUL, March 26 (Reuters) - A would-be suicide bomber accidentally blew himself up on Thursday, killing six other militants as he was bidding them farewell to leave for his intended target, the Interior Ministry said.

    "The terrorist was on his way to his destination and saying good-bye to his associates and then his suicide vest exploded," a statement from the ministry said.

    Taliban-led attacks in Afghanistan have escalated in the past year with suicide and roadside bombings insurgents' weapons of choice.

    The incident happened in Helmand province in southern Afghanistan where mainly British troops are struggling against a growing Taliban-led insurgency.

  5. it's actually pretty common for people to die soon after their spouse dies if they are both later on in's called the "widowhood effect"..sociologists are not entirely sure why it happens but it's been documented as happening at a much higher rate then would be expected from random chance. It could be that they are grieving so they give up on life/healthy behavior/etc (Basically dying of a broken heart), or it could be that they had similar life styles so both just would have died around the same time, or maybe some people don't know how to take care of themselves without their spouse around. I like the broken heart explanation myself.