Thursday, September 6, 2012

Into the home stretch

With the start of the new school year, I've returned to the regular morning 6:45/6:55 minyan. No more 8:00 minyan. (see http://mykaddishyear.blogspot.com/2012/07/summertime-and-davening-is-easy.html) The Gabbai at the regular minyan hadn't seen me in a while. So he approached me. His question: "how much longer do you have?" He meant how much longer do I have to say kaddish. The answer is: about six weeks. My last day of saying kaddish is October 10.

I'm coming into the home stretch of this year of mourning. I beginning to think about what it will be like when I'm finished saying kaddish. The answer is: I really have no idea. It's just that at the beginning of my mourning period, it seemed as if I would always be in mourning mode. Now the reality that the mourning period is time limited is sinking in.

Frankly, I'm looking forward to its end. I've committed, as Jewish custom dictates, to say kaddish three times a day every day for the first 11 months. I've walked to shul and recited kaddish countless times. (I've calculated that each day I recited various kaddishes eight times, or 56 times a week, so, 240 times in a 30 day month, times 11 equals 2,640; see http://mykaddishyear.blogspot.com/2012/02/quality-or-quantity.html. In that post, I calculated 2,656 kaddishes and I'm not about to check my math to figure out the discrepancy.)

I'm getting tired of the routine and the restrictions. I want it to end. I want my regular life back. I want to have my evenings unencumbered by shul obligations. I want to go to concerts. I'm getting ready to incorporate my mother's death into my life rather than having my life tied to mourning for her. I think that's the point of the kaddish year. It's such an overwhelming obligation that it eventually you say to yourself and to God: I have done my duty to myself and my mother, I have mourned for her day after day, now let me have my life back again.

(For another perspective on coming toward the end of the mourning period, see http://www.thejewishweek.com/blogs/adam_dickters_continuum/home_stretch)

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