These have been some tough days at the end of a mild summer. Many of us have reached places and times where it feels like the mourning will never see morning, where it may never end, the pain of the absence wholly un-soothable.
I know I have.
And the holidays are coming. How will we celebrate the new year without the mom/sister/daughter/wife that we loved so much? How will we – dear God, how will we – stand straight during Yizkor on Yom Kippur?
I’m spending much time writing sermons right now. And that means reflecting back on last year’s High Holy Days, in order to craft my messages for this one.
I came across my Yom Kippur sermon moments ago. I thought I remembered what I had preached. But I did not.
The words of that speech have left me filled with a mix of tears and solace, memories of love that did exist, that I long to remember this day.
With great appreciation to myself from one year ago, to our ability to continue to learn the same things we once thought we knew, and for the love that I continue to be reminded did once existed in the flesh…
My mom has no apology to offer for getting sick, no repentance to do. She does not need to atone for this devastating reality. That is all a distraction – a painful, futile way of avoiding what actually matters.
She could die – all of us could die – and God forbid, our loved ones should stand by our grave side and mourn not only losing us, but also all the time we wasted feeling bad for the ways that we were human.
All my mom need do this Yom Kippur and every day for the rest of her life is to keep doing the thing that she has done best since her diagnosis, that she has done every day of my life – to keep on loving me, and my sister, and my family, and life itself; filing the earth with more and more hesed with every breath she takes.
She loves me. And I love her back. More than anything in the world.
And that’s nothing to apologize for.