October 9, 2009

Yiskor 5770

Ever since my father died I’ve felt that I can finally put away the old year and embrace the new not at the end of Yom Kippur, but at yiskor, the memorial service held on the last day of Sukkot. This year, more than ever, I need to turn the page to a new year, one filled with life and health, not death and disease. Over the past year, the deaths came relentlessly, month after month, almost too many for us to bear.

Carol, my husband’s first wife.

Jane, the brilliant newspaperwoman with whom we worked and laughed in Houston.

Tommy, who gave so much to the Village of Larchmont and was our regular companion at the LT.

Arnie, our dear friend, who was responsible for so much of my professional success.

Aunt Helen. Brother-in-law Donald. Seth. Chip. Too many funerals. Too many memorial services.

And so, as I turn to embrace the future, I pause, one more time, to think, not about the people we’ve lost, but what they left us.

Merrit Malloy’s poem Epitath, which has made its way into the liturgy of so many services, says it best. I won’t violate copyright laws here by quoting the whole poem, but I do urge you to look it up. It’s a way to live, not a way to die.

When I die
Give what's left of me away

…And when you need me,
Put your arms
Around anyone
And give them
What you need to give to me.

I want to leave you something,

Something better
Than words
Or sounds.

Love doesn't die,
People do.
So, when all that's left of me
Is love,
Give me away.

1 comment:

  1. I've always loved that poem. I hope I never have to read it aloud in public; I doubt I could get through it without crying.
    Chag sameach!