I spent the last few days in Minnesota hanging with family and some of my brother Joel's friends, after his death last Thursday night. There was no funeral or formal ceremony but a lot of time spent with my sister-in-law Felicia; Joel's daughters, Judy and Rachel; and my sister Sharon and sister-in-law Tina and nephew Ian. In addition, my aunt Fraydel and cousin Brenlea drove a whole lot of hours to come from Winnipeg and spend some time with us. And I met/remet some of Joel's friends. It was very sad, very hard. I'm still having trouble believing he's gone. As Uncle Ruth said, Joel's a force of nature - it's hard to imagine a world without him.
I am glad to be home and participating in the kinds of mourning rituals that work for me. I said kaddish for the first time this morning, and yizkor is tomorrow. Shiva is over because of Shavuout, but I'm going to have a shiva-esque gathering on Sunday. I'll show pictures of Joel and tell a whole bunch of stories in which he figures largely. I want my community here to hear how funny, loving, smart, gregarious, clever, and hospitable he was, and how much I love him. We'll also have a brief service. It's Sunday from 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. and anyone reading this who is in or around NYC and wants to come should comment or email me and I'll tell you where I live.