August 05, 2010

Missing Josh

Because my scheduled ultrasound was cancelled early yesterday morning (even medical personnel sometimes get sick and can't come to work), I had enough energy to attend Josh's funeral. I think more than 500 people attended. Rabbi Borodin did a superb job of coordinating the many eulogies and speaking herself of the tragedy of Josh's death.

Who gave eulogies? Kim's family rabbi from Tacoma. Josh's brother and sister. A congregant who was his summer camp counselor and teacher. A childhood friend, a college friend, and a friend he and Kim met after moving back to Seattle. His wife, Kim. Rabbi Borodin. Another Beth Shalom member chanted El Maleh Rachamim (God full of compassion) and led us all in singing Psalm 23.

I was struck by how every speaker identified Josh as a man who always engaged with people. Josh could interact directly and immediately on topics large and small. Certainly in our conversations over the past few years, he could crack a joke, talk about living with metastatic cancer and preparing for his own death.

Being a writer, it was no surprise to me that Josh chose to write his own obituary. (I have done the same.) His love of family and friends took precedence over everything else in his life. Josh constantly reminded me to live each day to the fullest, no matter how tough the day might be. And from him and the too many other friends I have lost to cancer, I have learned, again, how to be fully present in life, even in the face of death.

Zichrono l'vracha, may his memory be a blessing to all who knew him.


  1. "What we have done for ourselves alone dies with us; what we have done for others and the world remains and is immortal."
    Albert Pike

  2. You know, Jill, I've been pondering the meaning of those words: May his memory be a blessing. What a powerful statement. I find myself conscious of what I say, what I do, that someday, my memory may be a blessing. Those simple words have given me much to reflect on.