August 30th marked the date on which, as a Jew, I stopped reciting Kaddish for my father for the year following his death. It’s kind of an odd tradition that Judaism initially tells the mourner to say the prayer for a year but then has her stop just shy of the Yahrzeit date (anniversary of the date of death, according to the Hebrew calendar). My rabbi explained to me that the month’s break between the end of Kaddish and the first Yahrzeit is a time for introspection, for moving away from grief towards reflection on my late father’s life. I feel weird, but I understand the transition.
I had trouble falling asleep on 8/30/08 and went to bed very late. I finally put my head on the pillow only to hear WineGuy snoring away. I turned away from him, one ear down on the pillow, and put another pillow over the other ear. Since I didn’t make it to services that morning, I decided to recite the Mourner’s Kaddish one last time in the privacy and quiet of my bed. As I drifted into unconsciousness, I heard Dad’s voice clearly in my head and felt his hands holding mine. “I love you. I love you,” he said. The hairs rose on the back of my neck.
My father reached out to me and gave me what I needed most. Just like he always did. Goodbye, Dad. I hope I hear from you again soon.