Friday, August 29, 2008

Hats On for Her

I spent a lot of time today looking for a hat.

My grandmother died very suddenly yesterday (8/28). She was shopping for groceries and may have had a massive stroke. She was dead almost instantly. In addition to the shock and sadness of the event, I was overwhelmed today with trying to make arrangements to get to the East Coast for her funeral on Sunday; hence, the search for a hat.

My grandmother was Jewish and it's appropriate for women to wear hats in the synagogue as a part of sign of respect. It's also okay not to wear one, but I had a mission. My grandmother really liked nice clothes. She appreciated being dressed up and she appreciated the effort others would put into looking nice. She was very accomplished woman- a Ph.D, three children, owned a home... She always, always said what she thought- especially about what one was wearing. A hat, for me, was necessary for this funeral.

Despite our religious differences, my grandmother was very supportive of my becoming a pastor. It might have made her happier if I was a rabbi, but she never said that to me. She was hoping to coming to my installation at the end of September, but she couldn't and she sent me this message the day before she died:

Dear Julia,
I hadn't checked the calendar before I spoke with you. There is a conflict with dates of your installation. Rosh Hashana begins at sundown on Monday, September 29 and I plan to attend services at a synagogue. In addition I have some preparations to make for myself to get ready. Perhaps this is a doubly auspicious occasion: your beginning your first ministry of your own church at the beginning of the Jewish New Year.
My best to you always.

When I read those words, they are her blessing to me- that she's proud of what I'm doing and she's happy for me. I'll miss her, but I want to make her proud even now. So I found a hat. Hats on for you, Grandma.

Rest in peace.

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