Tuesday, April 01, 2008

What a Difference a Day Makes

This is a picture of me with my good friend Rabbi Marc. He is a man with a huge heart, a gifted teacher as well as a dedicated social justice crusader. As President of the Human Relations Commission, he just started a city-wide initiative to prevent fledgling gang violence. He serves on any number of boards & task forces, in addition to serving his own congregation tirelessly. Last Wednesday, we posed for this picture after a meeting of The Interfaith Alliance of the Bluegrass -- I am President and he's the VP. Every week we have breakfast together with two other clergymen, a Presbyterian and a Baptist. We laugh, alot, and support one another through all sorts of travails.
Less than 48 hours after this picture was taken, Marc's wife Cindy died suddenly of massive heart failure. A nurse and mother of 4, Cindy was only 46 years old. At the funeral, more than 500 mourners filled the Temple and a fellowship hall nearby, and included the Mayor, the Police Chief, the Imam, the owner of the Lexington Legends, and the Governer of Kentucky. All of these people knew Marc from his active service. Cindy was behind the scenes, caring for the kids, holding down the fort. Their youngest daughter Rachel is only 8.
These untimely and seemingly inexplicable deaths are the catalyst for so much examination of self and soul. I find myself thinking each day about the fact that we really don't know how much time we have on earth, no matter how we pretend we do. So many times my Buddhist teacher Caitriona has said, your own death may be many years from now, or it may be later today. This made her words real.
Indeed, my own mother died in much the same way Cindy did, when I was even younger than Rachel. I am wondering, and my fellow Breakfast Club members are too, how we can best help. Marc was on Cindy's insurance... and their home was purchased with the expectation of 2 salaries. Today he spoke to me of how we (clergy) really do not learn how to walk with the bereaved through everything... he could not believe how painful it was to choose the burial site. He sounded so utterly exhausted and so bereft. If you pray, please include Rabbi Marc and his children, Corey, Josh, Ilana & Rachel in your prayers tonight.