This article first appeared in June/July 2014 issue of Hadassah Magazine.
Lisa Samick was 35 when she watched her younger sister, a new mother, die of metastatic breast cancer.
Judah Schiller was 35 when he was left to raise three kids alone when his wife suddenly died of massive internal bleeding three days after giving birth to their third child.
Gabrielle Birkner was 24 when she got a call at work informing her that her father and stepmother had been murdered in a home invasion.
We all contend with loss, mourning and grief. Everyone confronts the death of a loved one at some point. But for some of us it comes sooner rather than later. While no one is truly prepared for loss, young adults in their twenties and thirties feel even less prepared. With few—if any—of their peers having gone through a similar experience, they are left charting their own course through the emotional and practical challenges that come in the wake of an immediate family member’s death.
Some young Jews find comfort in age-old Jewish rituals and in their local Jewish community. However, in the Internet age, when we live so much of our lives online, those experiencing loss often turn to Google in search of relevant and resonant resources. They may sit shiva but also reach out to their social media circles for support.
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© 2014 Renee Ghert-Zand. All rights reserved.