In the early morning hours before being hooked to the intravenous Pitocin, I dreamed that my Grandma Minnie was in the hospital room with me. We were chatting like old times. Just as she told me that I was going to have a baby girl—not a boy as I’d insisted—I was startled awake by a nurse entering the room to take my temperature. She touched my face with her cool hand; it was damp with tears, because even in my semi-conscious state I knew that my grandma was gone.
Remembering the dead can be comforting and discomfiting at the same time. I spoke about this incongruity in my Yizkor sermon on Yom Kippur morning. Yizkor, the memorial service, was introduced into the holiday liturgy by rabbis who understood that even in moments of celebration our joy is tempered by loss. Tomorrow the yizkor prayers will be recited again as the fall festivals wind down. Then the Jewish calendar will remain devoid of holidays for two months until Hanukkah. We will return to the normal cycle of joy and sorrow, life and death.
Four months have passed—so quickly, like a vanishing dream—since Andrew’s untimely death. I have been writing, moving forward, living with this loss, but Yom Kippur was the first time that I spoke about it publicly. I share my words here, and invite anyone who is healing from loss to remember your loved one in a yizkor message. You can click on the title of this post to leave your comment. Let’s remember them together.