Consider yourself lucky not to be related to me, because today I attended my fourth funeral in thirteen months.
My children are now very familiar with Jewish customs of mourning. They've come a long way since October, when David explained that after his mother's funeral we would go back to the shiva house, and people would visit, and there would be food.
"What kind of food?" Gabriel wanted to know.
"Jewish food," David answered.
"You mean, sushi?"
And so today, over breakfast, we discussed how the day would unfold, and Gabriel asked, if David predeceases me, where I would like my children to sit shiva for me. I answered that they should sit wherever they are most comfortable.
To which my most thoughtful, wise, empathetic and also, I now know, pragmatic son replied that he might not be available. I smiled bemusedly and waited for him to explain.
"What?! I want to be a famous trumpet player*, and I may have a concert, and I won't be able to cancel."
"Surely your fans would understand your needing to reschedule?" I asked.
"Yes, but what about my bosses? They won't like it if I ask for time off," he said.
"Well, when the time comes, you won't ask; you will tell them, and they will say okay."
He nodded in agreement — I do have things to teach him yet! — and responded, "Yes, but they won't like it."
True enough; but such is life, and death.
*This from a child who has not yet played a trumpet, and has been working the past three years to improve speech deficiencies including: low oral tone, a reverse tongue thrust, and motor planning issues. I am most impressed by his determination.