When a family mourns, the nerves are exposed and a lot of old tensions can come to the surface. The shiv'a - that traditional seven-day-long reception on which friends drop by to offer condolences - can be hard on the spirit: to much small talk, too much uneasiness, too many cookies and burekas and way too much coffee.
It turns out to be mostly the opposite this time around. We're spending the Shiv'a's days at my uncle and aunt's place. Everybody's being lovely. Late last night, after a good dinner there, my cousin Yaron took out a guitar and we sang Arik Einstein songs. His pajamaed four years old son Tuval decided he is Spiderman and I gave him a hand at climbing walls. My aunt Rachel said "Who would believe that we're in mourning?"
But we are in mourning and these days are emotional. My sisters and I all had work to do this weekend, none of it got done. I find myself being particularly upfront and expressive with people around me, Whether it be on the phone, on the street or in the pub. I notice that I'm more easy to express love, and I know my family living and dead to be that love's source.