It is a tremendous blessing to me every time I am able to walk alongside someone who is on the mourner's path.
To sit down in someone's kitchen or living room and let them tell me stories.
To give them a safe space in which to open the faucet and let their memories begin to pour forth.
To keep company with the family as they accompany their loved one as far as they can go.
To invite them into the painful and powerful tradition of shoveling earth onto the casket with our own hands.
To bless them that they should be consoled along with the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem, and along with all who mourn.
To walk alongside them, to offer a listening ear and a welcoming heart.
To pray with them, letting the familiar cadences of the mourner's kaddish work in and through them.
To remember how precious this life is, and how unknown is the Mystery which follows.
I don't do this work in order to be more mindful of my own life, my own loved ones, but I am always reminded.
I remember how fortunate I am that my own loved ones are still here.
It is sobering to glimpse, at a distance, the path we all walk someday.
As Shabbat approaches, may all mourners find comfort. May we welcome them into our communities with kindness and understanding. May we tend their fragility more lovingly than we would tend our own.