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The Fork

There was a young woman who had been diagnosed
with a terminal illness and had been given 
3 months to live. So as she was getting her things
in order, she contacted her Rabbi and had him
come to her house to discuss certain aspects of
her final wishes.

    She told him which songs she wanted sung at the
service, what scriptures she would like read, and
what outfit she wanted to be buried in.

    Everything was in order and the Rabbi was
preparing to leave when the young woman 
remembered something very important to her.

    "There's one more thing," she said excitedly.

    "What' that?" came the Rabbi's reply.

    "This is very important," the young woman
continued. "I want to be buried with a fork in my
right hand."

    The Rabbi stood looking at the young woman, not
knowing quite what to say.

    That surprises you, doesn't it?" the young woman
asked. "Well, to be honest, I'm puzzled by the
request," said the Rabbi.

    The young woman explained. "My grandmother once
told me this story, and from that time on I have always 
tried to pass along its message to those I love and those
who are in need of encouragement.

    In all my years of attending socials and
dinners, I always remember that when the
dishes of the main course were being cleared,
someone would inevitably lean over and say,

    'Keep your fork.' It was my favorite part because
I knew that something better was
velvety chocolate cake or deep-dish apple pie.
Something wonderful, and with substance!'

    I just want people to see me there in that
casket with a fork in my hand, and I want them to
wonder "What's with the fork?" Then I want you to
tell them: "Keep your fork ..the best is yet to come."

    The Rabbi's eyes welled up with tears as
he hugged the young woman good-bye.  He knew this
would be one of the last times he would see her
before her death.  But, he also knew that the young
woman had a better grasp of heaven than he did.
She had a better grasp of what heaven would be
like than many people twice her age, with twice
as much experience and knowledge.

    She believed something better was coming.

    At the funeral people were walking by the young
woman's casket and they saw the cloak she
was wearing and the fork placed in her right
hand.  Over and over, the Rabbi heard the

    "What's with the fork?" And over and over he smiled.

    During his message, the Rabbi told the people of
the conversation he had with the young woman
shortly before she died. He also told them about
the fork and about what it symbolized to her. He
told the people how he could not stop
thinking about the fork and told them that they
probably would not be able to stop thinking about it either.

    He was right.  The next time you reach down for
your fork let it remind you, ever so gently, that
the best is yet to come.  Cherish the time you have, 
the memories you share, and keep your fork near by!