Goofs and Gadflies

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

She wanted me to write a eulogy...

I spoke recently to observe the yahrzeit of my Mother. Many people expressed their appreciation and wanted to share with people who couldn't make it. I figure I would throw it up here so this place doesnt look as abandoned as who actually dusted off the cob webs to muse on Shavuot. So Gentle Reader, I may return, or it may be another two years before I return. -- One year ago today, my mother Elaine Griver , Chana Sarah bas Leible ve Shayna Aleha Hashalom went to her eternal repose and her beautiful neshama left this world. Four years ago this week, my father Dennis Griver Aleha Hashalom departed for shamayim Erev Shavuos. As with most jewish Levayas time simply does not allow for everyone to come who wants to be there. As such, I want to go back into the eulogy I gave for my mother and reflect on what I said and the impact of those words 12 months later Quoting from the speech I said the following - I am comforted by how much my mother loved to celebrate life. Through the years of bar/bat mitzvahs, graduations, weddings, and babies of our family and the extended family, i would look at my mothers face as a child is want to do, to learn what the appropriate emotions to feel would look like. I can safely say that my definition of “unbridled joy”, my understanding of that concept, stems from stealing glances of my Mother during these simchas. She taught me how to feel, how to love, and how to empathize. When I look at Idaliah, Avi Adam, and now Zev, when I watch them dancing, playing soccer, or Ice Skating, I get what it is to have that prideful look in my eye. My children give me so much nachas and joy. It's a reminder of how patient and loving my parents were and it motivates me when I try to raise my family For my mother, no one moment was bigger than another. She clearly knew how to appreciate each day and to live in the moment. As i stand here today, I am in complete awareness of the responsibility my mother has given to me. I now have to continue her legacy of kindness. I have to make the small efforts, to continue the delicate and sensitive way she gave to this world. I have to be grateful and expressive of gratitude. And this is where the real reflection occurs, I stand here speaking for the merit of my parents when I say that I appreciate more than ever how we as a community must be better, must pick up the slack that others carried unquestioningly. I think about Rose Lax and Melissa Axler Aleha Hashalom. I do this because they were family to EVERY jew. I think about how much better of a person I am because I was simply lucky enough to have met them and be inspired by their unstoppable dedication to helping others. Which gives me a great segway to introduce a thought given to me byLeslie Selevan (she who is herself an unstoppable force in her dedication to helping others) who said in the name of Yehoshua Stokar, Montreal Kollel, Many times, I have been asked, as a member of the Kollel, but also as a plain Jew living in the twenty-first century, ‘why should we be Jewish?’ What is wrong with Christianity, Buddhism or any other religion for that matter? The true unprejudiced answer to this question is not that we can find some sort of logical flaw or any obvious errors in any of the other religions. The truth is we chose to be Jewish because… we are Jewish. One can ignore all of this and go to a place he does not belong - Or he could choose to live up to these high expectations, to become a link in the great chain called Jewish history. This sums up my father perfectly. He didn’t know how to be Jewish, he just knew that he was a jew. He was content by the shabbes challah, his eyes were warmed in the reflection of the lit candles, his cheeks rosy as they filled with chicken soup. I am so grateful he placed me in the circles of jewish thought and supported the direction my life took. The system of shiva allows those people to comfort the mourner in the following week. In some Cosmic quirk, my sister and I observed a total of 22 hours of shiva combined for both parents. What we gained in the easing of the most restrictive mourning period, we lost in terms of quiet contemplation of our loss. I hope that with the conclusion of the year of mourning, as we exit avelus and return to normal life, that we can continue to teach the lessons our parents taught us. Stephanie, as a sister you have shown tremendous love for my family and our bond should only grow stronger as we celebrate only simchas. I want to take a moment to express my personal gratitude. First to Rabbi Daniel Green for his tireless dedication to the Community. To Rabbis Selevan, Schweitzer and Gans for their friendship and Chavrusa. To all my close friends thank you. When I thought about my wife and how to express my gratitude, I thought about the linkages between Pesach and Shavuos. On Pesach we say Dayenu. If I had my wife and nothing else, dayenu. If I had Chana and her children and nothing else, dayenu. Instead I have all this and a beautiful community and for that I truly mean dayenu. Chana, I am truly in awe of your passion and dedication. Like I said, at the levaya I spoke from the heart and to close I want to return to those words. Thank you mom, for being the inspiration and muse of my father. Thank you for being the type of woman who would inspire a man to say “I fall a little bit more in love with your mother every day” Thank you Mom, for giving Stephanie the opportunity to perfom kvod habaim to the fullest extent possible. Her total devotion to your health and life gave me the peace of mind to stay in Hamilton knowing she was so capable in advocating for you and keeping you comfortable. I would always leave the house by saying I love you Mom, to which she would reply, I love you more. So today I get to say to you mom, I love you more.


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