Marcia9zm

Four years ago today was my Aunt Marcia’s funeral. I stood crying with my family as we laid her next to her parents.

Marcia9k

On June 29, 1949, Marcia came into this world with an older brother and sister. Between the ages of four and seven, she saw the arrival of three more sisters. My mother is the youngest of the Burnstein clan. She remembers how smart and organized Marcia was–reading books and delegating housework. One of her favorite songs was “This Guys In Love With You” by Herb Alpert. She also loved Close to You by The Carpenters and Linda Ronstadt. Marcia was only fifteen when she lost her father, Leo Burnstein to a heart attack. She lit her Shabbat candles every week for years in honor of him.

Marcia

I remember my Aunt as witty and thoughtful. Every birthday and for each new milestone accomplishment, she would send a card in the mail signing her family’s names including her dachshund, Mitzy. Generally trying to stay out of politics, she was a peacekeeper with a caring heart. She sweet-talked and loved on children and animals, Mitzy usually close to her side and cuddled on her lap. An empathetic and encouraging ear, she raised two children who are confident in themselves and capable. My heart aches for my cousins and the devastating loss of their best confidant. I am glad that we still talk about her and share our memories– a small way to keep her here.

I wish that I had had a closer relationship with my Aunt. She was creative, writing special poems for family gatherings or funny little love notes to her husband. My other cousins frequently sought her advice on essays and school work. I wish I had done the same. We share that love for writing and I wish I could listen to her talk to me about why she wrote and what it meant to her. I wish I could hear some advice from her now as I pursue this Wyoming History business. She lived an eclectic life, working as an office manager for a dentist, a secretary, a real estate agent, and even owning a bakery. She didn’t settle into a long career until she was 47 and earned her Bachelor of Science in Education from Missouri Western State University and she was 52 when she worked her way to her Masters of Science from Northwest Missouri State University. She spent 17 wonderful years as a teacher at an elementary school before retiring. Teaching was her calling. I felt closer to her when I was working as a substitute teacher, frequently asking myself how she would handle a given situation and trying to act with her same warm empathetic heart. What now that I am on a new adventure? How did she feel about her career path? I could stand to hear some words of comfort from her on marriage too, something she also waited to do until she was 34. What would she say to me now? To be okay with the unknowns?

Marcia9zy

I wrote these prayers for her when her two-year-long struggle against a glioblastoma came to its end. A prayer to say goodbye, giving her permission to go and then just slightly changed when she was gone. I read it at her bedside and again at her graveside.

 

A Prayer for the Terminally Ill

*Shema*

Praise be unto you, Adonai Eloheinu, Creator of Life and Death.
Your gift of Life shines on us like the warm sunshine on smile-stiffened cheeks. We struggle and do not want to hasten away from the summer of life but a winter has fallen on our home an a sickness is delivering unto you our dearest.

Adonai Eloheinu bring comfort and peace to this bedside.
The good our dearest brought forth in life will never cease to exist. Her loving, thoughtful actions will reverberate through generations. The lessons and wisdom she imparted will continue to guide us as she becomes all things. As all is one, we will see our dearest everywhere.

Please, Adonai Eloheinu release our dearest from all pain and unease. Surround this home with love and acceptance of the unknowable.

Blessed be the acts of kindness that give Life after Death.
Blessed be the memories we created.
Blessed be the wisdom our dearest imparted.
Blessed be the Love between us.
These are things Death cannot remove. Even as our dearest departs physically, the glow of her life will shine on us evermore.

Blessed are you, Adonai Eloheinu, Creator of Life and Death.
Please guide us through both with gentle Love.

 

 

A Prayer for the Graveside

*Shema*

Praise be unto you, Adonai Eloheinu, Creator of Life and Death.
Your gift of Life shines on us like the warm sunshine on smile-stiffened cheeks. We struggle and do not want to hasten away from the summer of life but a winter has fallen on our home an a sickness has delivered unto you our dearest.

Adonai Eloheinu please bring comfort and peace.
The good our dearest brought forth in life will never cease to exist. Her loving, thoughtful actions will reverberate through generations. The lessons and wisdom she imparted will continue to guide us as she becomes all things. As all is one, we will see our dearest everywhere.

Please, Adonai Eloheinu, who has released our dearest from pain and unease, surround this home with love and acceptance of the unknowable.

Blessed be the acts of kindness that give Life after Death.
Blessed be the memories we created.
Blessed be the wisdom our dearest imparted.
Blessed be the Love between us.
These are things Death cannot remove. Even as our dearest departs physically, the glow of her life will shine on us evermore.

Blessed are you, Adonai Eloheinu, creator of Life and Death.
Please guide us through both with gentle Love.

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