[Ed. Note: this is a poem submitted for publication in the Expired and Inspired Blog by one of our own. — JB]
Written in my 63rd year with peace, wonder, and gratitude for my life.
Someday I will not hear rain tapping on the roof
feel wet drops on my face,
smell the clean, fresh air.
Someday I will not feel
like I have plenty of time,
choices of what to do in that time.
Someday I will not feel my boots crunch
through heavy snow to soft earth,
see the tops of trees ready to bloom as their time nears.
Someday I will not be able to telephone family and friends,
say out loud, “I love you”,
hold you in my arms when I see you.
Someday I will not water houseplants,
snip ends to root in water,
watch flower spathes emerge from an orchid with delight.
Someday I will have read all the books I am going to read.
Someday I will no longer buy or pick, wash and cut fruit,
arrange it in a pleasing way and
present it for others to enjoy.
Someday I will no longer feel the deliciousness
of getting under the covers, putting my head on the pillow,
feeling warm and letting go into the dark night.
Someday I will have woken fresh in the morning for the last time.
Someday I won’t light candles and pray,
Or make little fires of twigs and branches,
Touch the match to tinder and gaze at flames.
Someday I will not be able to bless, comfort or support others
By speaking words,
Writing a card, text or email.
I will no longer be able to say I am sorry, forgive me,
I forgive you,
Someday I will no longer make music,
hear it in my ears,
feel it reverberating in my body.
Someday I will have drunk my last cup of tea.
Someday I will no longer watch eagle-eyed
for edible wild greens or mushrooms emerging,
for the first wildflowers of spring.
Someday I will have seen all the sunrises, sunsets,
moonrises and moonsets over water or land,
stars moving across the night sky,
clouds changing shape swiftly or lazily,
that I will ever see through these eyes.
Someday I will no longer be able to hop on a bicycle,
break ice crusts frozen on puddles with my boots,
splashing through the deepest part,
swing on the tree swing looking into woods,
paddle a kayak through still water at dawn or twilight.
Someday I won’t see and hear the first red-winged blackbird of spring,
see maples leaves yellow and red in autumn
hear the hush of snowfall,
at least, not as I do now.
Someday I will no longer feel my hands in cool garden soil,
water and watch the growth of vegetables,
harvest with pleasure and gratitude.
Someday I will have eaten every bit of food, healthy or not, that I am going to eat,
tasted flavors and felt textures: crunchy, soft, smooth, crisp, sweet, salty, bitter, sour,
enjoyed sharing this experience with others.
Someday I will have quenched my thirst for the last time,
feeling cool water gliding down my throat.
Someday I will no longer smell the richness of leaves rotting on the forest floor,
watch ocean waves crash and hear the roar,
release my body into cold, salty water
feel the sea water like my own tears in my eyes.
Someday I will have participated in all the ceremonies I ever will, in this body.
Someday I will no longer be able to brush watercolors on paper,
cut a shape with scissors,
Draw pictures with pen and ink,
Sew fabric or put buttons on anything.
Someday I will have made the last batch of kombucha,
rubbed salt into the last batch of fermented vegies,
simmered the last pot of broth,
made the last simple but delicious meal.
Someday I won’t be able to wash, dress and bless others who have died,
Nor sit with them as I can now.
Someday time and money will mean nothing to me.
Someday I will be done traveling in boats, cars, trains, airplanes,
Setting foot on unfamiliar lands,
Listening for words I know or am learning in another language.
Someday I will have looked into all the eyes of others through my own eyes that I ever will.
Someday I will no longer see my breath in cold air,
feel the wet blanket of fog,
hear the foghorn of the ferry,
rub my hands together to warm them.
Someday I will have played the last game of cards,
read the last bedtime story out loud,
sung the last lullaby,
and tucked someone into bed for the last time.
Someday I will no longer be able to prepare myself
or my loved ones for my death.
Someday I will no longer experience the wealth of momentary wonders in this life of being in a body:
With love and gratitude, I relish them now.
Jean Berman speaks and leads workshops on Honor and Comfort: The Jewish Way of Death and Mourning, Care of the Newly Dead – An Inquiry into Intuition and Tradition, and How Death Enhances Life: Heightening our Awareness. She enjoys walks in nature, kayaking and playing ukulele, and lives on Peaks Island, Maine. She is a graduate of the Gamliel Institute, and a Board member of Kavod v’Nichum.
Jean B. Berman
TASTE OF GAMLIEL
6th in the series: June 25th, 2017 – Dr. Laurie Zoloth
In 2017, Kavod v’Nichum and the Gamliel Institute are again sponsoring a six-part “Taste of Gamliel” webinar series. This year’s topic is From Here to Eternity: Jewish Views on Sickness and Dying.
Each 90 minute session is presented by a different scholar.
The June 25th session is being taught by Dr. Laurie Zoloth, well known author, teacher, and scholar.
Taste of Gamliel Webinars for this year are scheduled on January 22, February 19, March 19, April 23, May 21, and June 25. The instructors this year are: Dr. Dan Fendel, Rabbi Dayle Friedman, Rabbi Sara Paasche-Orlow, Rabbi Richard Address, Rabbi Elliot Dorff, and Dr. Laurie Zoloth.
This series of Webinar sessions is free, with a suggested minimum donation of $36 for all six sessions. These online sessions begin at 5 PM PDST (GMT-7); 8 PM EDST (GMT-4).
Those registered will be sent the information on how to connect to the sessions, and will also receive information on how to access the recordings of all six sessions.
The link to register is: http://jewish-funerals.givezooks.com/events/taste-of-gamliel-2017.
More info – Call us at 410-733-3700 or email email@example.com.
Click the link to register and for more information. We’ll send you the directions to join the webinar no less than 12 hours before the session.
GAMLIEL INSTITUTE COURSES
LOOKING FORWARD: UPCOMING COURSE
Gamliel Institute will be offering course 2, Chevrah Kadisha: Taharah & Shmirah, online, afternoons/evenings, in the Fall semester starting September 5th, 2017.
The course will meet on twelve Tuesdays (the day will be adjusted in those weeks with Jewish holidays during this course). There will be an orientation session on Monday, September 4th, 2017. Register or contact us for more information.
You can register for any Gamliel Institute course online at jewish-funerals.org/gamreg. A full description of all of the courses is found there.
For more information, visit the Gamliel Institute website, or at the Kavod v’Nichum website. Please contact us for information or assistance by email firstname.lastname@example.org, or phone at 410-733-3700.
Donations are always needed and most welcome to support the work of Kavod v’Nichum and the Gamliel Institute, helping us to bring you the conference, offer community trainings, provide scholarships to students, refurbish and update course materials, expand our teaching, support programs such as Taste of Gamliel, provide and add to online resources, encourage and support communities in establishing, training, and improving their Chevrah Kadisha, and assist with many other programs and activities.
You can donate online at http://jewish-funerals.org/gamliel-institute-financial-support or by snail mail to: either Kavod v’Nichum, or to The Gamliel Institute, c/o David Zinner, Executive Director, Kavod v’Nichum, 8112 Sea Water Path, Columbia, MD 21045. Kavod v’Nichum [and the Gamliel Institute] is a recognized and registered 501(c)(3) organizations, and donations may be tax-deductible to the full extent provided by law. Call 410-733-3700 if you have any questions or want to know more about supporting Kavod v’Nichum or the Gamliel Institute.
You can also become a member (Individual or Group) of Kavod v’Nichum to help support our work. Click here (http://www.jewish-funerals.org/money/).
If you would like to receive the periodic Kavod v’Nichum Newsletter by email, or be added to the Kavod v’Nichum Chevrah Kadisha & Jewish Cemetery email discussion list, please be in touch and let us know at email@example.com.
You can also be sent an email link to the Expired And Inspired blog each week by sending a message requesting to be added to the distribution list to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Be sure to check out the Kavod V’Nichum website at www.jewish-funerals.org, and for information on the Gamliel Institute and student work in this field also visit the Gamliel.Institute website.
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SUBMISSIONS ALWAYS WELCOME
If you have an idea for an entry you would like to submit to this blog, please be in touch. Email J.email@example.com. We are always interested in original materials that would be of interest to our readers, relating to the broad topics surrounding the continuum of Jewish preparation, planning, rituals, rites, customs, practices, activities, and celebrations approaching the end of life, at the time of death, during the funeral, in the grief and mourning process, and in comforting those dying and those mourning, as well as the actions and work of those who address those needs, including those serving in Bikkur Cholim, Caring Committees, the Chevrah Kadisha, as Shomrim, funeral providers, in funeral homes and mortuaries, and operators and maintainers of cemeteries.