Thursday, December 12, 2019
It is the holiday season and many Americans travel home for the holidays. We often see reflections of coming back to the “idealized home” on Hallmark and Lifetime movies with drama about family arguments or misconceptions about a past perceived experience. In the movies, family members often return home and the focus is to resolve a past issue. In real life coming home means much more and this week has made me reflect deeply on this subject.
Last week an old friend from middle and high school, Robert Bickerman Bicknell passed away. He spent the past 20 plus years living in Vietnam although he grew up in Newton. I reconnected with him over the past 3 years via facebook and had engaged regularly in conversation. He was a true friend to all who knew him and would fight for his friends and beliefs. In Vietnam he married and had one daughter who is now a teenager. Although he lived there, he recognized roots of Newton Massachusetts as home and his final wish was to be buried back here. We just learned that the Chabad in Vietnam made it possible for my friend to be brought back to the States and to be laid to rest this morning, next to his parents in Sharon Memorial Park. It is with great gratitude that I thank the Chabad of Vietnam and Sharon for facilitating and expediting Bobby’s final wishes.
This experience has made me really think about the importance of roots and family. We live in a global economy and our families are scattered all over the place. I for one, have kids living out of state and far away and am the last of my immediate family to remain in Massachusetts. My parents had also moved to Florida to spend their latter retirement years. They wished to be buried here in Massachusetts when they passed away four and six years ago, respectively and as such are nearby in West Roxbury for their final resting place. There is something deep within us to have this longing of going home.
My friend Bobby is being reunited with his family after passing as I write. I am not sure of the last time he saw his family and friends since moving out of the country. There are limited traces of his past years and in fact during the funeral ceremony it was difficult to determine his Hebrew name for burial. Bobby taught me the value of home by his commitment of returning to Massachusetts for a proper Jewish burial today. He also shared the importance of legacy and not being forgotten. Before he passed away his shared his fears of being forgotten in an article featured in Vietnam Golf Magazine. During the past three years he reflected on his values and importance of his homeland. He lived to preserve these values and that is part of his legacy. (Not to be morbid but as part of your estate planning be sure to leave your last wishes on record and have key contact information.)
I thank him and am thankful that he will now rest in peace.
When one builds a house, a builder has to install a solid foundation. Likewise, when a child is raised, famiy and friends, help build the foundation of our character. The values and lessons shared by loved ones teach us to become moral human beings. Count your blessings this week and enjoy the time you can with your family members and thank them for the time they shared with you as you grew up. Don't let the drama you see in the Hallmark movies become your reality. These are the people who helped build the foundation of who you are. Do what you can to make the world a better place and appreciate the roots and values that helped build the foundation of your life. Be sure to share your wishes and leave a footprint of your thoughts and beliefs. This is the legacy you will leave behind. For all of my family and friends I hope you will find peace and happiness as you head home for the holidays this season.