Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Kol Haneshama

We gathered to say goodbye to Zelda yesterday.  Her body had been flown from Chicago to Detroit the previous night, accompanied by a “shomer” because the body is supposed to be watched from the time of death through the burial.

Zelda seemed beautiful and peaceful.  Her skin looked like the skin of a person half her age.  Someone joked that it was because she hadn’t spent a fortune on it over the years.

Three relatives spoke, including my husband, all portraying the strength, determination, and love of learning that so characterized Zelda.  The rabbi then made some very appropriate remarks.

No one mentioned the fact that Zelda had pretty much adopted Estelle, a resident of the Self-Help Home who could no longer speak.  I’m sure Estelle, who may live on for a decade or so, must miss her terribly.

Even though everyone spoke of her love of music, there had been no music at her funeral.  So as we drove from the funeral home to the cemetery, I came up with the idea of singing part of Psalm 150 as her body was lowered into the grave.

As we gathered at the gravesite, snow began to fall in earnest.  The rabbi read the prescribed prayers.  We lead the group in singing the final two lines of the final psalm, which translate as “Let everything that hath breath (Kol Haneshema) praise the Lord!  Praise ye the Lord!”  It seemed fitting as a final song dedicated to Zelda.


Blogger Reya Mellicker said...

She lead a long, long life. May she rest in peace.

Many sincere condolences to you and David.

9:29 AM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Reya -- I actually thought of you yesterday as the graveside service concluded, the snow stopped for a few minutes, and the sun came out. It was a very Reya moment as Zelda smiled down and said thank you to all of us.

Zelda has definitely become my role model as I look at the latter half of life.

9:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a beautiful way to see Zelda off on her next journey. Sending love to you and David, Estelle, and all the others whose lives Zelda touched.


11:53 AM  
Anonymous lr said...

I have followed your posts of Zelda's final chapter with great interest and appreciation. Zelda certainly lived her life fully and shared her gifts with a great many people. Although she has moved on, she will continue to smile down and affect the lives of those whom she knew and those who have heard about her through your blog, Barbara. Love to you and David.

2:27 PM  
Blogger Steve said...

Sounds like a beautiful and appropriate touch to the ceremony. Zelda would be happy you thought to add some music. :)

2:59 PM  
Blogger e said...

I hope Zelda's legacy of love and learning will live on in the younger generations of your family. Singing at her graveside is a lovely tribute.

I wish you all peace.

5:02 PM  
Blogger Kristin said...

It sounds like a sadly beautiful and beautifully sad day. Music seems that it would be perfect - you've woven a wonderful tale of the woman, one that will live on for years to come.

10:28 PM  
Blogger karen said...

Hi Barbara. Thanks for sharing the story of Zelda with us.. I've really loved reading about her, and learning a bit more about you, too. I know she is at peace now. best wishes from across the continents x

12:47 AM  
Blogger Pauline said...

I imagine Zelda singing along with you all...

Thinking of you both.

6:23 AM  

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