Saturday, October 31, 2009


A few years ago, we learned about an unfortunate death of a grown son of one of our neighbors, living in our adult community.  Although I knew the family casually and was in their home only once, I thought it would be nice to pay my respect by visiting them.

My dear friend and neighbor wanted to accompany me.  We agreed to meet out side to walk to their house which was around the corner. As we were walking I told my friend that I had to go back to my house to get the address.  Since I was only their once, I wanted to make sure we knew where we were going.

My friend advised me that it was not necessary, since it was only around the corner.  “If we see a lot of cars, then we know where at the right house,” she said.  “But, what if we walk into the wrong house and someone pulls out a gun on us thinking we are intruders" I argued. She giggled and said not to worry "It is not a good idea.” My friend suggested, “we will open the door slowly, and if we see people, then we are in the right house” Seemed logical, but scary. she giggled and said” don’t worry.” The fuss was because it was not appropriate to ring the door bell when one makes a Shiva Call.  You must open the door yourself and walk in

When we approached the house, I nervously but slowly opened the door.  I saw bridge chairs lined up in a circle.  Recognizing some friendly neighbors, I felt assured it was the right place and motioned my friend to come in,  We eye greeted the ones we knew, and a lady whom we did not know came over to us to say she was a close friend of the family. Then a gentleman came out of the bedroom to acknowledge we were there.  I went over to him and expressed my sympathy over his loss.  He thanked me for coming.  I asked, “Where is your wife” as I wanted to express my sympathy to her as well.  “My wife is dead” he cried. “Oh my God, when did she die” I cried.  No one told me and that kind of news would have traveled fast. Perhaps she died of a heart attack because of the death of her son.  Wild thoughts came into mind.  The gentleman scratched his head with disbelief.  A neighbor came over to us and whispered that we were in the wrong Shiva house.  The one we were to go to was a few doors down. “But there were no cars there, I cried, silently” The room was spinning. My friend and I looked at each other and motioned to leave.  Difficult to control ourselves with this embarrassment, we backed out of the house quietly and left,  When the door was closed and we were safely our on the lawn, we cracked up, holding each other from falling down.  We were hysterical crying. and laughing at the same time  I wanted to kill my friend for not allowing me to get the right address, although her logic was not a bad one,

The hour was getting late and we had to straighten up to compose ourselves.  We still needed to pay the Shiva Call.  We waited awhile until the tears vanished from our eyes. We continued to walk to the next house.  “No cars were there.  How can that be a Shiva House?” we said.  We opened the door ever so slowly.  No chairs were lined up in the living room. There were no visitors except one of our very dear friends  sitting beside the mourner, the mother who lost her son.  We sat down beside the women still trying so hard to hide our emotions.  I had asked the woman how her son died.  She escorted me into another room to tell me her story privately.  I guess she did not want to repeat it again to her other visitor.  While listening with sadness, we heard hysterical laughter coming from the other room.  I figured my friend told our other friend what happened.  But the curious look on the face of the neighbor in morning made me tell her what happened.  “I hope you do not mind me telling you an embarrassing moment a few minutes ago.  I do not want you to think they are laughing because of you.” She replied “Please tell me, I can use a good laugh.”  After the story was told, she broke into laughter and thanked me for changing her mood for a little while.

What are the chances of two Shiva Calls on the same block at the same time?.

Do you have a story?  Please click on the comment box.  Would love to read it.

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