Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Lasting Yahrtzeit thoughts

As I described in my previous post, I felt out of sorts and anxious during the Yahrtzeit day. But it ended with messages that seemed to come from beyond. These came to me during the silent Mincha prayer, the last prayer during the Yahrtzeit. My brother was leading the prayers from the Amud, so I was seated, in my usual spot, toward the back of the synagogue. I recited from memory the Shemonah Esrei, the words of the weekday prayer. My eyes were closed. The words of the prayer, as it were, scrolled through my mind. I wasn't thinking about their meaning at all. Rather, they provided a backdrop to thoughts that entered.

This is not unusual, that I am simultaneously praying and thinking of stuff. Except this time I wasn't thinking about what I'd make for dinner, or work, or things I need to do. And these thoughts did not pass through my mind like transient notions but rather were palpable images that fully impressed themselves on me, one after the other.

These thought images, three of them, came to me in the following order. The first one was of my mother kissing me. Kisses of the deepest love and appreciation. Kisses that I could almost feel on my cheek. Kisses that reminded me of kisses she'd given me, of her last kiss. Our connection and mutual love and admiration. And perhaps even kisses of thanks for saying kaddish for her, not the words of kaddish or any effect of it on her soul, but the completion of a job well done.

The second image was of childbirth. Of her birthing me. Her first born. The screams and pain (though in reality she may have been anesthetized per the birthing protocal of the '50s). Of me coming into the world. Of her first holding me. The joy of motherhood.

The third and last image was of tears. Her tears of sorrow for having to leave the world she so fully lived in, for having to leave her husband, sons, sister, friends, clients. Tears at the painfulness of death and all the goodbyes it necessitates.

Kisses, childbirth and tears. Love, life and death. It all came to me in those few minutes of prayer. Thought images so real they will stay with me, always. And then the prayer, and with it the Yahrtzeit, was over.

No comments:

Post a Comment