I just lit the candle to mark the beginning of my Dad’s second yahrzeit (anniversary of his passing). It’s just me and the candle. No distractions.
I feel pain, yet not as intensely as last year. I feel the loss more acutely now.
In the past year, I had several complex decisions to make. And I often thought, Where’s Dad? I need his counsel!
Not able to chat with him in life, I couldn’t figure out what he would have advised. Stuck. Unsure.
And then I remembered this: Take a piece of legal pad paper. Draw a line down the center. Write Pro on one side and Con on the other. Then make your list. As I wrote those words, I could almost hear Dad relaying those instructions.
The classic Pro and Con list helped. Trying to hear his voice comforted me.
We had happy times in the family during the past year. Dad wasn’t there. I missed sharing the events with him. Did he come in spirit? I believe he did. Yet I couldn’t see him. I couldn’t see his smile.
I could conjure up memories of him smiling at other milestones.
The image of him dancing spiritedly with his grandson—my son—at the wedding came to mind.
Picturing the memory of the wedding dance comforted me.
On the yahrzeit, some of the observances of mourning are in effect. I won’t listen to music today or go to joyous events. I’ll draw on what I learned about simcha (joy) during the year of mourning: Feeling joyful comes from the inside. I can feel joy without the outside stimuli like music. Today, I’ll catch up on my spiritual studies and listen to classes, especially those with an upbeat tone.
And learning in Dad’s memory will comfort me.
L’ilui nishmas (for the elevation of the soul) Yoel Meir ben (son of) Simcha—Joel Sandleman, 26 Tevet 5777 (solar calendar date is January 17).
Photos ©Sherri Leah Henkin 2004-2017.