A heart-touching story honoring a much-loved woman who celebrated life until the very end.
In the back room of the funeral hall, I hold your lovely lifeless hand while the righteous ladies gently wash your cancer-reduced body. We recite psalms and count the buckets of water we pour to purify the vessel that once housed your raucous laughter, twinkling eyes and all-embracing hugs. I gently remove the dayglow orange nail polish from your toenails. It speaks to me as one last expression of your bold personality and your defiance of death.
Even in the hospice, you celebrated life until the very end and insisted that Shiva visits be punctuated with a shot of your favorite Kentucky Bourbon, a toast to life for each visitor.
Outside, in the sanctuary, so many friends have gathered to say goodbye. Your kids are here. People from the shul we went to when we were young moms with little kids have all come. It’s midnight. The ride to the cemetery under the star-filled sky brought back memories of our late-night ride all those years ago, searching for Fourth of July fireworks.
Memories flood my mind and spill down my cheeks. With the airline arriving late and the funeral delayed, people have had time to share more stories and recite loving eulogies. I feel all the love in this unlikely place. You and I were among the founders of our local Chevra Kadisha back in New Jersey, making sure the people of our area had kosher burials. That’s how I happen to be here, removing your nail polish and holding your hand, saying goodbye while holding you here. Save me a seat up there. I am certain we will meet again.
Enjoy your wings. Keep an eye on us. Love you always.
Meet Phyllis Becker...
Phyllis Becker has been accused of being "Hallmarky" or a Pollyanna. It's because she looks for the good in people and situations, encouraging others to see the silver linings.
Phyllis lives in the center of Israel, teaching English. She runs a service providing help to all ages in all situations. Her group is called "Grannies on Demand". Her team does anything needed, from driving kids and feeding the cat to helping the elderly and ill.