My first funeral was in 2015 when I lost my grandmother. Not only was this my first funeral it was also my first real loss of a family member. I had to travel the next day from my boarding school in MA to Boston and then onto Pittsburg where the funeral was being held. While mourning I was also super nervous. Being Jewish there are a lot of things that happen in a Jewish funeral and I didn’t want to mess anything up.
At the funeral a day later, we were going through the graveside ceremony and it came time to pour the dirt onto the casket. Jews throw dirt on the casket however we use the back of the shovel to show reluctance. My uncle started and well…he did it the wrong way, with the shovel right side up. I didn’t notice until he had finished for the action hadn’t registered at that moment for I was lost in my grief. However, after my uncle did it the wrong way then all the rest of my family started doing it the wrong way too! It was my turn to put dirt on the coffin and I froze. I could feel everyone’s eyes on me and I couldn’t move an inch. I shook my head, for I was panicking and wanted to speak but couldn’t. Luckily my older cousin, realizing what was happening came to my rescue and she whispered in my ear, “If anything do it for Grandma.” That gave me strength and I put dirt on the casket-the wrong way.
Finally we gave the shovel to a man, a christian man who was a friend of my grandmothers.
THIS GUYS FLIPS THE SHOVEL AROUND AND PUTS DIRT ON THE CASKET-THE RIGHT WAY!
It wasn’t until after we all had a laugh about it.
I think Grandma would have laughed too.