How to Cope with Losing a Father?
At his father’s funeral yesterday, Ilan* could hardly concentrate on the eulogies being delivered. Instead, the lanky tenth-grade Boys Town Jerusalem student closed his eyes to try and call up pictures in his mind of how happy his family once was, just two short years ago. Yet his mind only showed the cold, painful blank of a shattered world.
With the main breadwinner gone, the family’s financial situation plunged into near-poverty. As time went on, the children took out their frustration and anger on their mother in very ugly encounters. Recently, however, the unthinkable happened: Ilan’s father was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor, which had been the cause all along for his drastic personality change. He returned to his home and family, but his condition quickly deteriorated. Unable to care for her husband at home (to her children’s anger), Ilan’s mother moved him to a hospice. His death was long and agonizing.
During the funeral, Rabbi Rosencrantz and other Boys Town Jerusalem faculty were close by Ilan’s side. Throughout the shiva mourning week, his teachers and classmates will come in small groups to Ilan’s home to pay condolence calls. “Once he returns to school, we’ll be with Ilan as he recites the mourner’s kaddish prayer each day. Most important, we’ll try in every way to turn Ilan’s thoughts to how much he has to live for, now and in the future.”
*not his real name