Caring sincerely about my patients’ well-being and being a fitness freak are two things my father left me as a legacy. He also left me the legacy of attending shiva calls—he and my mom attended many when I was growing up and set the example of how to be a listening ear for others struggling with the loss of their loved one. Shiva is a tradition in Judaism where a person stays at home for 7 days after the funeral and tells stories about the life of their beloved parent or spouse (or child—lo aleinu). My parents would leave inspired by the life they came to honor. It reminds me of how Kind Solomon said something to the effect of, “True joy isn’t fleeting pleasure but rather deep, meaningful, spiritual bonds.”
And so I carry on and like a bee to honey, I seek out an opportunity to comfort my friends during their time of loss, to show my solidarity with their painful experience. And somehow, even though I’m doing it for them, I always leave inspired to live a better life, to shift perspectives, and to experience things more deeply.
So my father gave me this legacy. He, and my mother, understood the gravity of the experience, were sensitive to the process. And deep down, I think he meant to leave me this as a source of solace for when I would lose him. He showed me a way to live a life grounded in truth, connection with others, and striving for spiritual and personal growth.