Yesterday was the first time in more than 25 years that I had been to the Bronx Zoo. The prior occasion was back when I was a preteen with my Uncle Pen. Uncle Pen was a dear friend of my aunt's whom I adored. He was just such a kind-hearted man, who also happened to be very good with kids. Anyhow, on the same trip that we went to the Bronx Zoo, he gave me a most elegant necklace, a timeless piece that had a beautiful pearl solitaire with diamond accent. The style is actually back in vogue, if my visit to Macy's yesterday afternoon while waiting for a lift from my husband was any indication.
Before I set out yesterday morning, I thought to myself that since I am going to the Bronx Zoo, it would be only fitting if I wore the necklace. Since I had not worn the necklace in about 20 years, because the chain is delicate and consequently gets knotted easily, I took out a needle and proceeded to undo a set of three knots so that I could wear the necklace. It still was beautiful after all of these years. In the evening when I returned home, I took off the necklace to start preparing for bed. As I cupped it into my hand, the pearl popped out of its setting into my palm. I couldn't believe it! That necklace has travelled at least 40 000 miles around the world with me intact, yet came apart the same day as I wore it to the Bronx Zoo. I was just very thankful that I didn't lose the pearl while we were out and about, and counted my blessings.
Then this morning I received a voice mail from my aunt, who informed me that my remaining uncle had passed away and the levayah will be this Friday afternoon. Once my shock and sadness wore away slightly, I suddenly clued in to what had happened the night before. I realized that it was no coincidence that the pearl came out when it did- it came out when my uncle passed away! In death as in life then, the two uncles remained bonded. And in my choosing to wear the necklace today of all days, I hopefully paid respect to them both in a way that demonstrated how fond of them both I was.
So, here's to you Uncle Leo! May your neshamah immediately ascend to Gan Eden, and may you experience the ultimate peace and joy. Because you deserve nothing less.