Food platters and family matters
Laughter and tears
Angers, fears
Stories of life lived
Regrets of time lost
Eternal moments of memory
Woven together into a balm
To assuage the hurting heart
Release the untethered soul
And heal the empty hole
Unseen in the covered mirrors
Which hide the torn heart’s anguish
As I languish
Burning like a candle
In the dark night of the soul.
Praying with my weary body
I bind my memory of you into my arms
Between my eyes
As my heart, once again cries
Tears of love, loss and awakening.
Psalms of praise
Punctuate a mourner’s daze
Shema Yisrael
Why the hell am I here?
Awake so early
Not in my bed
As you lie dead
I cry with a sigh
To enter the silence of prayer.
I greet the ancestors
And they comfort me
Telling me they have welcomed you in death
For a moment I catch my breath
But then in the painful nuances
Of death and life renewed
I know its not true
Embodied I will never see you again
Once more a wave of pain
Recalling you’ve breathed your last
This time of incarnation has past
Dead, buried, no longer even dying
Am I laughing or crying
Feeling the blessings of living
Reaching out
Deeply knowing the fullness of time
Seeing invisible patterns of the divine
Reflected in the candle light
That burns day and night.
In this prayer haze
As words jump off the page
I feel the echoes of older, younger generations
Meaningful interpretations
Punctuated and punctured once again
With lingering laments of sorrow and regret
The recognition of potentialities never to be met
Gifts bequeathed
Sacred moments now unclaimed
Was this death in vain?
Blessings harvested
Friends found and lost
Just how much did that box cost?
All these and more pass in my mind
In praying to the divine
Unfolding moment by moment
In this ever-present seven day vigil in your honor.
Until  finally I pray for peace
Silently bend my knees
And sit down close to the ground
A prayed-out mourner am I
Not another tear to cry.
As the din definitely diminishes
And a majestic prayer finally finishes
Trembling, weary in my heart
Without hesitation, I slowly start
Momentarily mesmerized as I stand
Uttering cryptic words
Of a sacred chant
Yitkadal v’yitkadash
Lifetimes these words endure and last
In dumb struck belief
There seems to be no relief
Until in the pause moments
I drop my fear and begin to hear
Praying through me
Ancient Aramaic incantations
Echoing patterns of the centuries
An indistinct primordial sound
Resounds deep inside
Claiming my birthright from days of old
An orphan in history
Awe-struck by this mystery
Of unseen connection
Of generations and generations
Children of fathers and mothers
Siblings of sisters and brothers
Woven into the warp and woof of life
Etched into eternity
Words older than time
Hallowing the divine
Sanctifying this moment
This life you have lived
This death I am discovering
This blessed Name I am uncovering
In this world and the world beyond
In the name of the one who makes peace
In the highest realms
In the human realms
In my aching heart
And in your awakening soul
And once more
Before another round of bagels and lox
Makes all my clothes tight
Down to my socks
Let us say – Amen!
Let us pray – Amen!