Loss of the Moment
September 29, 2005
Yesterday I had the sad privilege of going to the funeral of a co-worker...a great guy by the name of Ed Breytman who passed away at the incredibly unjust age of 47. I got the chance to work with Ed, and help him out a bit with my knowledge of the computer language Perl...I think one of my strongest memories of him will be the way he called me by the nickname "Guru" when he was looking for a bit of help. (Though it wasn't just me, I think I heard him use it for other folks.) Actually, I think his attitude about the knowledge of others was admirable, especially because he was a go-getter himself. It's not going to be easy to pick up the stress and performance testing he was doing for the company from where he left off.
It was the first Jewish funeral I've been to, I believe. It was largely conducted in Russian, with some traditional Hebrew here and a bit of explanatory English there. One tradition I admired relative to current Protestant American habits is having mourners put the dirt on the coffin, either in symbolic garden-spadefuls, or even more utilitarian shovelfuls. I think there's a sense of closure with that, and a macabre beauty in restoring some of the literal meaning of the phrase "burying a loved one". (If I remember rightly the Protestant funerals I've been too often have the mourners bear witness to lowering the casket into the ground, but then leave an open grave, having the groundskeepers do everything after.)
So, that was really sad, and Ed will missed mightily.
Quote of the Moment
"Education is the ability to listen to almost anything without losing your temper or your self-confidence."