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Yahrzeit Day

We’re making our way through the Star Wars trilogy in our home this weekend. The initial debate was whether we watch the films in order or in order (that is, I-VI or IV-VI and I-III).

We settled on the former. There were pros and cons to each, the largest con of our choice being that we sat waiting through a disappointing movie at the very start of our expedition. Danielle’s favorite second-favorite Star Wars character is Jar Jar, so even in the banal is some measured redemption.

But our viewing enterprise was a determined preparation for the major work ahead (that is, viewing Episode VII in the theaters), so it would be small-minded to focus on the tree and miss the forest. This couch-fest was a labor of dedication. It was about star ships, and Ewoks, and light sabers and Hutts. This viewing extravaganza was about re-entering a time long ago and a galaxy far far away.

Or so I thought.

Because this time around, I didn’t see much of the Republic, or Clone Wars, or Death Stars. Rather, this time, those old stories faded away to a new one. One epic rose to the surface, engrossing my focus and attention, until I cried.

Yes, I cried during Star Wars. First, Episode I. Then again, in Episode II. And yet, again, in Episode III.

Has that ever happened, in the history of the universe? Awesome.

Because the only story I could see this weekend, the one that occupied the majority of my attention, was the story of a boy, a special boy, who left his mom, and then she died, and he hated that he couldn’t save her.

I’ve watched these movies so many times, over and over and over again, and this time around – the first in three years – suddenly the arch-villain, the manifestation of all that is bad, the totality of the Dark Side, seemed not so bad after all. With him, I could identify. For him, I felt sorry. With him, I cried.

Maybe I’m watching the films during the wrong weekend. Perhaps it’s just coincidence that leads to my identification.

After all, today is Yahrzeit Day.

It’s been three years. Three years since I last saw my mom. Three years since I last held her. Three years since I last heard her voice. But it’s the first anniversary in which I’m back home, the first that I’m so close. It feels more raw this time around. More surreal. More present, close by, not-too-long-ago.

It feels silly. Why should today be any different than another? But it does. It clouds my vision for these 24 hours. I can’t help it. The tears are that much closer by. Her voice echoes in my mind with more resonance. I need more hugs, and more patience.

Today’s not Birth Day, or Earth Day or any day. It’s Yahrzeit Day.

Does Hallmark make a card for that? File it with the ones wishing people a “Happy Tisha B’Av!”

I write today, in my office, at work. I don’t normally come in on Sundays. This is usually a holy time, dedicated to the New York Times and brunch by the beach. But I could not write these words anywhere else. I tried. Last night, this morning, they failed me. I have a picture of my mom that I took on what was probably the last time she came in to this office. I took it of her as she feverishly caught up on emails and few days after her first round of chemo. Shortly after, we went to her second favorite place in the world, Nordstrom (or was Nordstrom her favorite, and work her second favorite? Three years fades memory).

I don’t know what I’m saying. Trying to make order out of the meaningless is not a sport for the faint of heart.

But it’s Yahrzeit Day. And I’ve got to do something.

So here’s this.

Mom:

I hate today. I hate that I couldn’t stop it from being a day. I hate that you’re not here to celebrate it with me, though that would be a little complicated, to say the least.

I miss you. Three years on I miss you more than ever. I miss the sound of your voice, and the blackness of your hair. I miss the things I loved about you and just as much the things I hated.

I wish that you could see me now, see my life, see that I’m sitting in your old office, doing the work that I love more than anything in the world. I wish that you could see the family I’ve built, see the woman I’ve married who loves you and misses you too. So much.

I just wish that it hadn’t been like this.

But, shit, I’m know you did too.

So year three is over. I’m sure year four will be a little easier even. But I’ll never stop missing you. None of us will. If you knew just how much your absence left a gaping hole for so many you would be embarrassed. Totally, and then some.

I know you would.

And, just so you know, in a little bit, Danielle and I are going to go to the mall, too. To Nordstrom.

I wish you could come.

2 Comments Post a comment
  1. Identifying strongly with some of these feelings and sending love your way. May her memory always inspire you and may the Force be with you.

    December 20, 2015
  2. Deb Silverthorn #

    My heart and hugs to you! I’m in the midst of the month which carries the yahrzheit days of my sweet Grandmother Buzzy (20th year), my adorable younger sunshine sister Di (5th year), my dear Pop-in-law (19th year), and my own Poppie (5th year). It’s an awful day to remember, but would be worse to ever forget – hang on, hold on, treasure on… that is how they will always live on!

    December 20, 2015

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