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January 11, 2006


I've just finished sitting shiva for my father, who died last Wednesday, January 4. I spoke about him at the funeral, and I've spoken about him almost non-stop for the past seven days, so I don't mean any disrespect to him by being brief here. He would probably be appalled to hear his kids bragging about him, anyway.

You may have noticed my occasional notes about his condition this past year. He was suffering from an unusual form of squamous cell carcinoma, a condition that normally is not difficult to treat. The cancer itself couldn't do him in; rather, the side effects of the treatment and his pre-existing conditions were the direct cause. My father loved reading, and fortunately, he was mentally sharp and able to read till the very end. He was courageous and stubborn throughout the year. He was in his 80s, and not as strong as he used to be, but when offered treatment, he always agreed to undergo it. "It's better to be alive," he said, "than not to be alive." He insisted on maintaining his dignity despite a disease that tried to rob him of it. I learned a lot from him (and from my mother, who devoted the entire year to his care, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week).

I spoke to my rabbi this morning, and he explained the limitations on mourners during the shloshim, the 30 days following burial. He didn't actually volunteer that blogging is not permitted; apparently, the Talmud is silent on the issue. So I will be back, though it may depend a little on my emotional temperature.