I made a condolence call tonight at a friend’s home whose father passed away this week after a very difficult few months. In the Jewish religion following a person’s death, the family observes shiva. For up to a week, the family welcomes visitors to sit with them for comfort and prayers. I believe that this is one of the most beautiful traditions in the religion. It is such an amazing expression of love by a community to the family of the deceased.
Following my dad’s death, my family and I sat shiva at my mother’s home. I was incredibly moved by the love and support of my parents’ friends, my brother’s friends and my friends. It is extremely touching to see who shows up during difficult times. Years ago, a friend said to me, “It is easy to be a friend during joyful times, but you really find out who your friends are during the sad times.” I didn’t really understand this until I went through some hard times and saw those who stood by me. There is nothing greater than being surrounded by your family, friends and community members when your heart is breaking. My natural instincts were to avoid everyone, but with this tradition, you must accept comfort from others.
If you ever have the opportunity to comfort another during their time of mourning, I encourage you to do so. It is an extraordinary gesture of kindness and it is pretty good for your soul too!