The last morning

Today was my last day of saying kaddish for my mother. Today is the last morning for a long time that I will see dawn breaking over Broadway.

There was a group of us who had all experienced loss within a couple of weeks of one another. Over the past year I joined with people who were just ahead of me in feeling the trauma of their loss. As the year went on, others joined the roster of mourners.  As people's years of mourning drew to an end the group we were together, shifted and rearranged itself.

 After shaharit was over, we all went out for breakfast together. There were a lot of us. Someone joked that it could have been a seder. I was very aware as I ate breakfast with my friends, my community, how we all drag one another through the shoals of grief.
When I was saying Kaddish for my father I often thought of him during the service. This go around I realized that I had fewer thoughts of my mother during services. This go around I have been called on to lead fairly frequently. 
Being able to sing in public,without choking, without losing my breath has been a learned skill. This year I have been called to be shlichat tzibur fairly often. 
As I lead services, I have realized that my voice is my mother's voice. I haven't had to recall specific moments because as I sing I hear my mother's voice coming out of my throat.

at my mother's last birthday
When my mother's older brother was in his teens, my grandfather got him a job being  shliach tzibur at a small shul in their neighborhood. Hymie had some trouble leading services. My grandfather sent my mother along to cue her brother, to essentially lead from the ezrat nashim,the women's section.

So my eleven months of saying Kaddish has come to an end. I am released from the obligation.
Barukh Dayan HaEmet


  1. baruch dayan haemes
    may you be comforted among the mourners of tzion and yerushalayim...

    carry on your mother's beautiful mesorah
    much love,

  2. I have been struck by how much our mesorah of caring for aveilim has been such a tremendous comfort. I have been given such nichum from among aveili ziyon v'yerushalaym. I look forward to seeing you in real life soon.. I need a dose of hanging out with you.

  3. It is so hard to lose one's mother. May your memories of her bring you comfort. India Hayford

  4. India...indeed they do the many textiles.


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