Friday, May 25, 2012

A Tough Week

The Marine Corps celebrates federal holidays with a “96”.  Simply put,
in honor of our freedom, we are given 96-hours of freedom.  Out
here, that translates out to Saturday through Tuesday as free days.

I need it.

It was not an easy week.

On Monday at 4am, my phone started ringing; the duty chaplain was
trying to get ahold of me.  In the hospital, a man had just lost his wife.
The circumstances of the death are heartbreaking.  But when
inundated by command, chaplains, investigators, and doctors – he asked
for a rabbi.  He asked for the rabbi.

I hadn’t met them yet.  An army family, they just moved out to the
island.  While I was in the states, he sent me an e-mail asking for assistance in planning a bris for his unborn son.  But on Monday morning, I met a father of two young children, who had just lost his wife and his unborn son, who wanted to talk to me about cremation and burial. There is no question that I am against cremation, but my role as rabbi for Jews of all backgrounds requires me to stay away from stating halakhah. Instead, I listen.

He doesn’t want to cremate.  She wanted to be cremated, and she made
it very clear that these were her wishes.  In the meantime, there were
meals to organize, appointments with pathology and mortuary affairs,
and there was a memorial service to organize for an Army Vet on an Air Force Base with a Navy/Marine Corps Rabbi (that was probably the hardest part).

And so I was there.

I think I did pretty well with this family over the course of this
horrible week.  At the same time, I provided chaplaincy to the
regiments of the 3D Marine Logistics Group:  Anger Management
Counseling, Pre-Marriage Counseling, Marriage-On-Rocks Counseling,
Check-Ins, Check-Outs, Command Advisement, and general supply of good
cheer and spiritual resilience.

So I’m sure you can understand why I really need this weekend’s 96. After services tonight, I’m going to sleep.

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