Rabbis Without Borders
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Today is my mom’s yahrzeit (anniversary of death). It has been nine years since she died from metastatic breast cancer. She was 66 years old.
I miss my mom. I’m thankful I have my two sisters and that we have been a source of support and strength for each other. They understand how I feel, because they miss our mom, too.
We knew our mom was ill and that there was no cure. We knew the cancer would kill her. No matter how we tried to prepare ourselves for this eventuality, we couldn’t. Her death was still painful. We still asked “why?” and were at times sad, and others angry, that she was taken from us at a fairly young age. While she was blessed to know all her grandchildren, my children were very young at the time of her death and I’m saddened that she won’t experience the major occasions in their lives and that they will miss out on making memories with her. As it is, I do my best to keep her memory alive for them.
I am grateful for the grounding that Judaism offers me. Its wisdom brings me comfort. The practice of lighting a yahrzeit candle in memory of my mom, every year on this date, is a small tribute to her. It’s an opportunity to remember her, the lessons she taught me and the moments we shared. It’s an opportunity for me to share stories about her with my children and for us to remember together. It’s an opportunity for me to express gratitude for all she did for me and for the person she was.
And, when I join with others to recite Kaddish, the mourner’s prayer, I will remember that I am not alone. That there are people who support me and from whom I gain strength. The blessing of community is prevalent in this sacred prayer. The rhythm of these words buoy me and turn my focus back to life. For living my life in a way that would make my mother proud, is the very best way for me to honor her legacy.