This past week I took a day off. I drove one of my long time friends and her new husband on a whirl wind tour. We went around both sides of three of the eleven finger lakes.
Let me back up. She and her late husband were very close friends of my wife and me for years. Our children grew up together. They played, went to regular and Hebrew (religious) schools together. We and our children went to their children's Bar and Bat Mitzvah's, graduations, and weddings. And vice versa.
When her first husband was alive, the four of us were frequently guests over each others homes on the Sabbath, and on Saturday nights for social dinners. He was the President of the Congregation where I was the Senior Rabbi. She was President of the Sisterhood.
Tragically, her first husband was stricken with brain cancerous tumors. Eventually, it cost him his life. She gave up a very lucrative real estate business to care for him during his declining years.
I was called in at the end to help him say the Viduy (final confession to rid sins, and confess his faith). As I married their children, I officiated at his funeral.
Following his demise, she and her two daughters and their families moved to Israel. They all live there to this day. She is now 72 years young.
Their son lives less than two miles from our home here in upstate, NY with his wife and three children. He is, as was his Dad a President of one of my Congregations. Recently, she returned here to see her son and his family. We opened up our home so all her friends from her time here who are around could come for coffee, tea; and enjoy her company.
She brought her new husband. He is eighty years young. He is a retired pecan farmer from northern Israel.
The next day, I came to her son's home, picked them up, and took she and her husband on a car tour of three of the eleven finger lakes in upstate NY. We dined lakeside. We went to wine tastings. It was a marvelous time.
At 72 and 80 respectively, they are a wonderful couple. They dote on each other. They are each in their second marriage. He lost his first wife to a terrorist incident in Israel.
It was great seeing her again after all these years. I am delighted at how happy they are together.
Her first husband, when I went to visit him in the hospice and palliative care unit expressed concern for her happiness when he left this life for the World to Come. He would have been equally delighted, and just as approving to see her this happy.
Happiness can occur at any time, age or place. Life is for the living. To life!