Monday, March 16, 2015
Eli (1925-2014) in his college graduation photo.
Today is my father’s Yahrzeit - the first anniversary of his passing.
It has been a strange and sad year, my first year without either parent. I am at an age when becoming an orphan is normal, and yet it still seems a strange thing to be cast adrift in the world. The familiar lights and buoys are no longer there to help me navigate: I have been cast off from my moorings.
Yes, I am sixty-two years old. Not a kid by any means. I’ve been on my own, living my own life in my own family, for something on the order of four decades. Mom’s been gone for more than a quarter-century, but we were blessed with a Dad who made old bones and who, up until his stroke in late 2011, was robust and energetic. Larger than life, so it seemed.
Now he is gone, and my brother (the Other Elisson) and I take our place with the others at the head of the generational queue as we march toward an invisible, fog-shrouded precipice.
For eleven months I recited Kaddish. Today the formal trappings of the prescribed year-long period of mourning for a parent are ended. Today mourning becomes remembrance. From this day on it is personal, internal, and eternal.
One life begins, another draws to a close. Eli cradles the infant Mistress of Sarcasm in 1982 (top); thirty-two years later, the Mistress comforts Eli in his last days (bottom).
The Memorial Prayer
Eil maley rachamim, shokhein bam’romin, ham’tzei m’nuchah n’khonah tachat kanfei ha-sh’khinah, b’ma-alot k’doshim u-t’horim k’zohar ha-rakia maz-hirim, et nishmat avi v’morati Eliyahu ben Ya’akov she-halakh l’olamo, b’gan eiden t’hei m’nuchato. Ana, ba’al ha-rachamim hastireihu b’seiter k’nafekha l’olamim, utz’ror bitz’ror ha-chayyim et nishmato, Hashem hu nachalato, v’yanuach b’shalom al mishkavo, v’nomar amen.
Exalted, compassionate God, grant perfect peace in Your sheltering Presence, among the holy and pure who shine with the splendor of the firmament, to the soul of my my father and teacher Eli, son of Jacob, who has gone to his eternal home. Master of mercy, remember all his worthy deeds in the land of the living. May his soul be bound up in the bond of life. The Lord is his portion. May he rest in peace. And let us say: Amen.