Saturday, March 21, 2009

Beware the Ides of March - For Marty / On Leah

Julius Caesar was assassinated on March 15th - according to Roman Lore. He was told by a seer to "beware the ides of March" a phrase made part of the common lexicon by Shakespeare - where all good lines come from (yes I did just end a sentence with a preposition - the Bard would be proud)! This year I did not beware the ides of March and it snuck up and bit me on the tuchas. It was a bitter-sweet-bitter day for me. The funeral of a loved family member - Marty Bressler and the birthday of a dead friend - Leah Ryan. On the surface Marty and Leah were not at all alike. Marty a strong, tall, striking man in his late 70's. A lawyer, devoted husband and caregiver to his late wife Rosalind who battled with brain cancer for over 15 years, a father, community activist, staunch Democrat and liberal (okay they are starting to look more similar,) life enthusiast, drinker of scotch with fruit and as I learned at his service - a harmonica player. Leah was in her 40's. A tall, strikingly beautiful, independent spirit. A writer of all things sardonic, witty and thought-provoking. Generous to a fault, a great cook and a woman whose laugh was infectious. I can still see the way she would tilt her head slightly with her mouth open enough so you could see her entire tongue move in rhythm with her sound. A tall figure often dressed in black or animal print but with a heart of hope and breadth that awed me. I love Marty and Leah. I am a better person for having held them and argued with them and known them. Both of them were dear to me and both of them died from leukemia. And both of them stood up and took control over their death by ending their treatments.

In Judaism it is considered inappropriate to mourn too long for the dead. A year for those close to you. My mourning of Leah is coming to an end just as my mourning of Marty has begun. I will end saying Kaddish for Leah very soon and I have just begun it for Marty. Neither of them were blood relatives. Neither of them were immediate family. But both of them are dear to me. Marty a grandfather and Leah a sister. In life and in death I will think of them always with a metaphoric scotch with fruit and a head held back in laughter.

Beware the Ides of March.

1 comment:

DoulaMomma said...

a sweet. powerful remembrance - I'm so sorry