My aunt's funeral took place this morning. These things are hard. My uncle Lou (my great uncle, technically) was there. This was his sister who we were burying.
I adore Lou, and it's hard seeing the years catch up with him. He's had troubles for years (he's well into his 80s), but he's always been the type who won't let ailments slow him down. Today, I could see that he was noticeably stooped. Knowing him, he must really be hurting. His other half, Ann, said he wasn't going to be able to stand for the service (it was to be graveside, and we don't usually sit for such things--we stand with the Rabbi). In other words, they were thinking he'd have to sit nearby in their car and not be right at the graveside.
I said to Ann, "so he'll sit for the service." In our traditions, health comes first, but I think they felt somewhat unsure of how to handle things. Oh, and to make things tougher, the people at the cemetery didn't have a single folding chair to offer.
So I got a box from the funeral director (a "shiva box"--another story, but it did the trick). Then everyone was concerned that: 1) it was unstable on the grass, and 2) it would be hard for him to get up from it since it was so low to the ground.
So I said, "Fine, so I'll stand behind him and he'll lean on me, and I'll help him up when it's over."
For heaven's sake, this man has always been there when people needed him, be it his family or his country (for what it's worth, he's a World War II veteran, having served as a "Tin Can Sailor" on destroyers in the Pacific theater). Focusing more on the part where he was there for his family, how could I not do this minor thing for him? My family is comprised of pretty good folks overall, but I couldn't understand how they all spaced out on this wonderful man's need for help this morning.
Anyhow, as I made clear that he wasn't going to be kept from paying his respects to his sister, I glanced over and saw tears in Ann's eyes. She then came rushing over and hugged me. As great as that made me feel, it really wasn't a big deal for me to do this.
When the funeral was over, Ann hugged and kissed me and said, "thank you for being you." Like my ego wasn't big enough already. ;) But it really made me feel good.
Oh, and the fun at work today? We're going to seek the protection of the bankruptcy court. Despite issues this creates, it should be good overall. It will help the network survive and will protect my hospital. Some of the smaller pieces of the network have been losing huge amounts of money. So this may be just what we need to get the ship on an even keel.
Tomorrow, my first meeting is at 7am. To get there in time, that means I have to be up around 4:30am. Needless to say, it will be a long day.