Monday, February 01, 2010

Eleven Months

The first Yahrzeit for my father will fall on Friday, February 26, the 12th  of Adar. The following night, Saturday, starts Purim.

Last year, my father died on a Sunday, and was buried the same day, a few short hours later. Shiva started immediately, but on Monday night was the start of Purim, and thus, megillah reading. So we had to get up from shiva to go hear megillah. On Tuesday morning, we also went to hear megillah reading and then came back to the house to sit for almost an "unofficial" day of shiva. We had our seudah that afternoon. I consider it a macabre seudah, as it was actually a shiva meal.

This year we go from Shabbos to Purim. Normally it's customary to sponsor a kiddush the Shabbos before the Yahrzeit, but mine will be the next day, Shabbos morning. Why is that? Because the Yahrzeit -- the 21st! -- for my father-in-law falls the next week, the 18th of Adar. So we are sponsoring a small kiddush the Shabbos between these memorable dates.

How did these two fine men, the paternal backbones of the Saban and Adler families, both happen to die in Adar, and mere days apart? And my father's father, who died when my father was 6 1/2 (my father marked his Yahrzeit for 82 years!), also died at the onset of Adar--the 7th of Adar. That is the day Moses is said to have been born on and then died on 120 years later.

"Mi-shenichnus Adar, marbim b'simcha." When the month of Adar enters, joy is abundant.

How do we act joyous, when our hearts hurt and our memories are overflowing with images of our loved ones who are gone from our lives?

When I go to shul on Shabbos morning, I say Kaddish on my side of the mechitzah. I am now in the 11th month and no longer say Kaddish. This past Shabbos, the words wanted to escape my lips; I had to hold back from murmuring them.

The heart is heavy.