Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Two Parents / One Loss

My parents left this world one right after the other. First my dad. Then my mom. A year apart almost to the day.

On the Shabbat of February 9, 2008, I stood in the synagogue with the other mourners to utter my final Kaddish. I turned to the man behind me, who had been there at the beginning of my mourning period and declared:” It has been a year since my father died. I no longer need to say Kaddish”.

The Shabbat was quiet. Kiddush with friends after shul. An afternoon nap. Some reading. The sun set and the phone rang. It was my sister from Philadelphia.

“Mom died!”

“Mom, died?”

The rest is a blur of time and space and emotions. However, I do remember thinking

“Another year of Kaddish”..

During the seven days of shiva, my family and friends and the Capital “ Kehillahniks” came to embrace me in my grief. You sent food, tzedakah, cards, notes, presents, holy prayers all on behalf of my father and then my mother. My boundless gratitude!.

Many of you have recently lost parents. Some of you are still sitting shiva. All of us share in this experience of grief and loss. How do we traverse this road if not together?

May their souls be bound up in the bonds of eternal life and their memories are an inspiration. (From the Yizkor prayer (the prayer of memory) that we say on Yom Kippur, Sukkot, Pesach and Shavuot.)