We did a virtual shiva for my grandmother today. It was nice to see all the people who cared for her, and for us. What was kind-of amazing is that we were able to get people from all over the country on a Zoom call together. It's a small blessing from the isolation we are facing that we needed to come up with an alternative to 'real' shiva, and because of that we could share the moment with family and friends from Idaho, Washington, Colorado, California and elsewhere.
I wrote some things to say, but it turned out that most of what I was going to say was related by other people. What I did have left to say was a memory of my grandmother, at 96, getting down on the floor to play with my kids. I had a printout of what I was planning to say, and my daughter decided she wanted to read it. She read a sentence or two and then had me read the rest, but I was very proud of her for participating.
Both kids were pretty unhappy about making an appearance tonight, but they did ok. My son was kinda driving us crazy until we gave him his ipad, but when it was time for him to go to bed he came back and said a very cute goodnight to everyone. My daughter sat and listened for substantially longer than the five minutes we had asked her to.
One recurring theme with my grandmother is how she foun her own adopted family in Pocatello. It was pretty moving to see all of these people come out to speak about what she meant to them. One gift from this experience is I've reconnected with some cousins of mine who I never really knew growing up. My daughter writes postcards to her 'new' cousins, and I hope we'll find ways to visit with them despite the distance.
I was very impressed with my parents' rabbi. She had some technical problems, but she was really listening to what people had to say.