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Shiva

September 6, 2007

Wednesday night was much fuller and my memory is such because of it. The house filled up quickly with people wanting to attend the service. I dressed quickly and went downstairs to wait at the table. If I risked laying down I may never want to get up.
My parents dentist was there. Not your typical older man dentist. He was younger and dressed in tight pants and a jean jacket. I knew he had a colostomy bag under it. My parents used to say they could hear it gurgle sometimes when he leaned in close to them. It was really sweet of him to come, he really like my Dad.
He mostly talked with Sammy, but I saw him eye me a couple of times. When he asked me how old I was, I saw his eyes light up a little to learn I was 25. My shirt was kind of tight and I knew he must be eying my chest. It felt kind of good to be looked at with eyes that said, “Nice rack.” Rather than, “That poor child.”
I eyed the door, knowing Helena was coming. I wanted someone other than temple people to be with me. The Rabbi came before she did and it meant the service would begin. We made our way into the living room so we could sit. I made Matt sit with us. I needed him by my side. The service was short and I read along with out thinking. Standing to say the Mourners Kaddish was no different to me in that moment, I always stood, there was always loss to mourn. When I was younger and hadn’t known war yet, it was victims of the holocaust, soon enough it was soldiers in the war, then it was family members, now it was my Dad. I would always be standing for it.
Helena arrived and we sat at the head of the table, her nibbling on a dessert and telling me funny stories of mishaps on dates. One guy had just quizzed her on Hamlet. I wanted to hear about the things happening in her life, not have to remain focused on mine.
The door opened and I looked up to see an old friends Father walk in. He hadn’t changed since I was 18 and getting ready to head off to college, not knowing that the friend and I would hardly talk after then. I got up to greet him.
“Adrienne,” He said hugging me, “I’m so sorry. I had no idea he was even sick.”
I played the greeting part and shook my head with a crooked frown, “Yeah, it happened really quickly.”
“I was just sitting at the table eating my bean soup and drinking a beer and I saw the announcement in the Suncook Sun and my mouth dropped. I got here as quickly as I could.”
“Thank you,” I responded. I knew he wanted to hear how and what had happened so I told him about the original diagnosis, the reoccurrence, how he had tried to find a way to fight it, how there wasn’t, that we had called in hospice.
“Wow.” Was all he could say.
“My mom is in the other room if you want to say hello.”
“Yeah, yeah.” He was speechless as he turned to go into the living room, “Grace,” I heard him begin.

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