Yahrzeit

The title is a Hebrew word meaning “soul candle” and is lit in memory of the dead in Judaism. In two days, October 18, 2013, it will be the one-year anniversary of the passing of my father. I will light a candle in his honor. It feels like I should do something more, say something…more. I eulogized him on this site shortly after his passing. Did I say enough?

He was two months short of his 90th birthday, having lived 77 years past contracting polio. It would be easy to marvel at those numbers; however, his post-polio disorders ravaged his body toward the end of his life. He was a man of intellect and chose to fight everything with his mind. In the end, that was not enough. It never is.

And so, selfishly, I look inward, to my own life, and outward, into the mirror. The resemblance grows stronger from year to year, even insofar as attitude is concerned. Physical ailments limit me at times but I do not run from those limitations. He would be proud. He was creative. I found several poems dating from the 40’s through the 70’s and realized that he may not have had the same time of creative circle that I am blessed with. While I taught myself Windows Movie Maker at the age of 46, he bought his first computer at the age of 79. We do not shrink from challenges, he and I.

What I realize is that he was not prepared for the end, did not focus on his own spirit, his own soul. He was so devoted to my mother, his wife of 65 years, that as the end approached, he was struggling to come to terms with what was beyond, something he doubted for much of his life. I would like to believe he is comforted now, free of all ailments, patiently waiting (as patiently as men from my family can be) for an eternal reunion.

In the long run, life IS short, no matter the numbers we are assigned. We will never read every book, listen to every piece of music, watch every film, eat every food, go to every interesting place. That is a given and a certainty. But we must strive to learn of the world beyond our circle, our comfort zone. In this way we will be enriched. We must openly acknowledge the all-too-often pettiness of daily life, the inconsequential things that we have declared to be omnipotent, in search of the ever-so-slight magical moments, where often words have no meaning. In this fashion, we can light a candle for our own souls now, while we still live and breathe, and praise the life we have been given.

This post is not about writing nor about food. This is a momentary respite from the madness. This is my reflection. This is my tribute.

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3 Comments

  1. Jane Gallison said,

    October 17, 2013 at 7:31 am

    It’s life’s challenges that bring us to wisdom at an older age. Most children do not want to learn from their parents’ experiences. In retrospect though I resented it as teenager, now I see the lessons he was trying to convey. Becoming your parents is a sign that they tried their best to parent as well as they could. It just happens that one day you realize “OMG..I sound just like my father (mother).” My hope is that there is peace and freedom from pain and strife and Dad is in a happy place.

    Thanks for being my brother. I love you.

    Like

  2. Sharyl Friebus said,

    October 17, 2013 at 12:29 pm

    Beautifully said H.

    Like

  3. Cathy said,

    October 28, 2013 at 11:05 am

    beautiful tribute, H.B.

    Like


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