A Note of Gratitude

Dear Friends,

I want to thank those of you who offered condolences to me at the time of my father’s death in October. Of course, I know what my parents, now both of blessed memory, meant to me. However, I had not realized how often I had spoken about them publicly. Many of your notes reflected “knowing” both Dad and Mom from afar. Thank you. I found those comments particularly comforting at a sad time.

Then, life continued to unfold. While I was still sitting shiva, our daughter in law, Jamie, gave birth to a beautiful (could it possibly be otherwise?!) little girl, our first grandchild.

As I reflected on these major changes in my life and on the very brief time period that separated them, I was drawn to a verse found in the Book of Ecclesiastes. What follows is a reflection I wrote shortly after Remi Amelia was born on October 23. I hope It will provide you with some worthy thoughts to consider.

In gratitude,
Neil

Toward the beginning of the biblical book of Ecclesiastes, the author states, One generation goes, another comes, but the earth remains the same forever. Throughout the book, Ecclesiastes seeks to determine the meaning of life. Here he/she seems a bit forlorn; the message apparently is, “Yes, things change, but in the end, everything just remains the same.” All of us are old enough to have felt, at times, that Ecclesiastes is right. But this past week, I experienced life in a vastly different way.

One generation goes… – As all of you know, my father, Hy Sandler, died just over a week ago (on October 17). As was the case with my mother, of blessed memory, when she died over a decade ago, Dad hadn’t really been “Dad” for some time. Unfortunately, dementia had taken its toll on the father I knew. But my father’s death, the opportunity that shiva afforded me to sift through memories and the many reflections others shared with me ultimately, in a sense, brought “Dad” back to me. He, along with my mother, was an incredibly beautiful influence in my life, a blessing that continues its presence despite his physical demise and the end of a generation.

… another comes… – Whew! Less than a week following the death of my father, our very first grandchild came into this world! Remi Amelia Sandler was born late Friday evening (also Susan’s birthday!) to our daughter in law, Jamie Freedman, and our son, Ariel. Remi “weighed in” at 6 pounds, 13 ounces (a “commandment miracle,” my not too observant, yet, apparently still knowledgeable, son said), and 20.5 inches long. Susan and I are thrilled and can’t wait to meet Remi in person (now there is a superfluous sentence)! Remi is the very first of her generation, the one that follows our children and my sister’s children.

… but the earth remains the same forever – After the week I have experienced… I don’t think so!