Yahrzeit: Remembering on the Anniversary of a Death. The yahrzeit is a time of remembering the dead by reciting the Kaddish, lighting a 24-hour candle, and remembering the person who has died.
Last week in the mail, I received a card that announced that the yahrzeit for my dad would be in mid-March. It coincides with the Hebrew calendar so it is a little earlier than the anniversary of his death in late March.
The notice took my breath away. Has he really be gone that long?
I tried to figure out why this postcard shocked me so. It's not like I do not know he is gone.
Now that I have had time to think about it, I am not sure it is shock as much as it is sadness.
Sad for so many reasons.
Sad that my dad was so afraid of who he really was that he had to lie and cheat and be dishonest.
Sad that he knew no other way.
When you bury a child, you still celebrate their birthday. At least we do. We also celebrate that child on any and all occasions that we can.
When you bury a parent, you are aware of their birthday, but there is no cake. There is perhaps a longing on Father's Day and some extra time to pause during the holiday season, but it is different.
Just as there are stages of grief, there are also degrees of loss. At least I think so.
I miss my dad. I miss the way his laugh would echo in a room - empty or not. I miss the way he would make me feel like I was the prettiest girl in the world.
Often times in death, the negative traits of a person fade away. My dad was not a great dad, by any stretch. He was not a good husband. He never learned to put others first. But he was mine.
Miranda will only know "Pop Pop Jim" by the stories that her uncles and I share with her. She will learn about his generous nature and humorous spirit and I suppose we will keep him alive that way.
It may not be enough, but I suppose it has to be.
After all, aren't we all kept alive by those that love us and remember us?