It is with sadness that I announce that my mother’s last sibling, my unique and wonderful Uncle Nev, a special human being and a brilliant, caring physician, has died from a fall, at age 83.
Not long after hearing our own news today, the media announced the unexpected death at age 58 of political commentator Tim Russert, and later in the day, the New York Times announced the death of eccentric, millionaire political activist Stewart R. Mott, aged 70.
It was, as it is on all days, a Harvest Of Souls.
I have a lot of weighty things on my mind right now, but it is the innate view of Jews to think of and grasp each experience in the context of Life, rather than Death. So, I may share some my thoughts as the week wears onward, and if I do, at the end, possibly you will learn something meaningful along the way, as I hope I will. Death can be transformative for the living, too.
Of course, before everything, I send my sincere condolences to my mother, to my uncle’s family: wife, children, grand-children and great grand-children, as well as to his wider family, friends and colleagues. Neville will be greatly missed.
Neville started out as a brilliant student and won scholarships for his complete education at University and Medical School. By age 21, he was a doctor (B.M. degree as an Australian, rather than the American M.D. designation) and for decades, Uncle Neville served his neighborhood as their family physician and surgeon, at all hours of the day and night, at a time when doctors still made housecalls.
Later, in mid-life, Uncle Nev decided to undertake a difficult Journey. He returned to study, and specialized in Radiology. Helping people was his passion, and even after he “retired”, he continued to work daily, at free clinics which helped those in need, until he was well into his seventies.
He was an earnest, gentle man and I never heard a harsh word or saw even a look of disapproval in the more than 6 decades I was privileged to have him in my life. My mother loved him deeply, and they were always extremely close, even though he was 2 years younger. The world is lessened by his passing, and may his soul be at Peace. He has earned his rest.
In Judaism, the Kaddish prayer is recited at times like these, several times a day, especially for the first 7 days of Bereavement and every Sabbath or daily prayer service attended for the mourner’s next year. In this prayer, we remember to extol the Lord from whence all comes and returns. This is the first section of this prayer from ancient times, when it was said in Aramaic (as it still is).
Yitgaddal v’yitqaddash sh’meh rabba
B’al’ma di v’ra’ khiruteh
uvchaye d’khol bet yisra’el
b’agala uvizman qariv v”imru amen.
Exalted and sanctified is G-d’s great name
in the world which He has created according to His will
and may He establish His kingdom
in your lifetime and your days
and in the lifetimes of all the House of Israel
speedily and soon; and say Amen
* Obeying the Commandment to not take the Lord’s name in vain, orthodox Jews never write G-d’s name and it is therefore symbolized thusly or spoken in metaphors etc. only, as in “Adonai” (“Lord”)etc.
“Neville” is a multi-generational name in our large family. The obituary for one of my Mum’s cousins, also a physician, is in the Medical Journal of Australia. He also had a brother named Neville.
Be sure to let those you love know that you love them! Hold them close. Make each day count to make a better world.
Best to all — Em
(c)2008 Em https://diabetesdietdialogue.wordpress.com
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