This past week, I made two trips to Brooklyn. One trip was (as it turned out) to say goodbye to a seriously ill friend. The other trip, yesterday, was to sit shiva (a Jewish mourning ritual) with her family.
The house where you visit is unlocked. When you enter, you do not speak unless and until you are spoken to. The immediate family of the deceased sit on stools or boxes lower than the visitors. They do not wear any leather. Mirrors (in some houses) are covered. There is a lot of other symbolism, something that is comforting to the mourners.
Most importantly, memories are shared.
The past few days my memories of my friend have been running in my mind, almost like a movie. It was comforting to sit with my friend's sisters and nieces and share some memories.
I was with my late friend when we took the walk that resulted in the pictures below.
I'd like to share these memories with you, my readers, also, with some updates and edits. In the midst of destruction, there is also hope, and renewal. I will remember that in the days to come.
Memories (September 2012)
So many of the scenes were too familiar, 14 months after my neighborhood in Westover, near Johnson City, New York, flooded - except we didn't have the strong winds, or the sea water, or 15 foot waves bearing down on us, like the waterfront neighborhoods of NYC.
It took me a month to search online for the fate of Red Hook after Sandy hit. I already knew it in my heart.
I don't want to show you pictures of the destruction, although the NY Times wrote a heartbreaking article about the Brooklyn neighborhood of Red Hook that won my heart during two visits this year. And now it's been undone by the same sea that gave it identity. Can the community be rebuilt?
(The answer was "yes").
New York City is not just midtown Manhattan. Its people will surprise and amaze you.
The Fairway, in another historic warehouse building, was flooded with over 7 feet of water, and they lost everything. (They reopened, too.)
One more view of Fairway. My friend loved this store and loved the key lime pies of Steve's. At one point, they helped sooth her and allowed her to get some nourishment.
In spirit, I walked down Van Brunt Street in Red Hook yesterday. In spirit, I visited the Pier 44 gardens as the imaginary winds of late fall blew against me.
And now, like Red Hook, I move forward.
This is my post for the #Septemberchallenge, hosted by Everyday Gyaan.