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Yesterday I went to Leo's funeral and wake. The funeral was at a cemetery in Lafayette, a pretty, scenic place. They buried him under a tree, on a slope. I think it was a manzanita tree.
A rabbi in a fedora recited the Kaddish. I had never been to a Jewish funeral before. There were no flowers. Leo's mother, a Holocaust survivor, was there from New York. She was small and seemed very strong. Leo's wife was not so strong, but rather broken, inelegant, and loud, drunk with grief, in the most authentically heart-wrenching way imaginable. When invited to address the congregation, Leo's sister spoke directly to the casket. "I want you to know you are not dead to me, Leo," she called across the grass to his casket, propped up over the grave on its steel lowering device. "To me, you're still alive! You'll always be alive for me, Leo! That's all."
Two of his kids recited passages from Psalms. His third child, the one he called "the rock star," read from one of Leo's books, a passage about Jonah and the whale, and his voice broke on the last line, which was the part that mattered most.
I have to go. I'll write more later.