Yahrzeit

December 15, 2010 at 4:44 pm | Posted in Death, Grief, mourning, traditions | 12 Comments
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As I wrote in this post, I really appreciate most of the Jewish mourning customs.  And for the most part I am on board with observing the Yahrzeit, a time of remembering the dead by reciting the Kaddish, lighting a 24-hour candle, and remembering the person who has died.  The Yahrzeit falls annually on the Hebrew date of the deceased relative’s death according to the Jewish calendar as opposed to the secular calendar.  

My only issue with observing Sawyer’s yahrzeit (not counting the fact that I cannot spell the word) is that according to the Jewish calendar Sawyer’s yahrzeit is tomorrow.  And, like most Jewish holidays it begins at sunset the night before and lasts for 24 hours.  Tonight we will light a candle and say a prayer for our sweet baby boy.  

We will say kaddish, a mourner’s prayer.   Anita Diamant writes in her book Saying Kaddish, that “Kaddish reminds mourners of their obligation both to dream of a world of peace and to build it — without delay.” I think this means that I should continue to repeat to myself the phrase I have already mentioned in an earlier post.  “Remember the past, hope for the future but live in the present.”  And thanks to my very wise and close friend I have a new quote from the movie Kung Fu Panda:

“There is a saying: yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift. That is why it is called the “present.” ”

No promises that I can do this but I will try not to dwell on how different our lives were a year ago.  I will try hard not think about the secular anniversary of Sawyer’s death because it is not today.  I will try to stay focused on today’s gift.

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12 Comments »

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  1. Blessings. That’s all I have for you. We (me) have to be present in order to understand the past and pave a road for our future. I have a candle lit in my kitchen as I type this and I am saying a special prayer for your Sawyer. Although I am not Jewish, I am in mourning with you. That makes us “related” in the universe.

  2. I will never find the words to express how I feel–I only know that Sawyer will always be with me. I also know how very much more I cherish those I love and those who have made this a little more bearable. I know too that there will be better times and that you are making that possible for me. I love you, Lanie, yesterday, today and tomorrow.

  3. We will light a candle, and say a prayer in remembrance of the past and blessings for the future. It is so hard to believe that it’s been a year already. You’ve done a lovely job of combining both heartache and humor in this post–an important skill that translates very well in real life.

  4. I love the looks of the present inside that box! And I love you, Lanie.

  5. Lanie,

    What a beautiful quote. I too will work hard to remember that each day is a present. Knowing you and your family is also a present. I want you to know that even though my time with Sawyer was limited, I too will never forget him. I will light a candle tomorrow and all of you will be in my thoughts and prayers.

  6. Lanie – you are such a gift. I will be thinking about you, Sawyer and your amazing family. xo

  7. You are an amazing person Lanie. I’ll say Kaddish for Sawyer. xoxo

  8. We too will light a candle for Sawyer today… see what a light in the world he was!!

  9. […] have whiplash.  Jake’s birthday, my parent’s 50th wedding anniversary!!, Jake’s yahrzeit, more birthdays and tomorrow will be Jake’s death day.  I know there are only so many days […]

  10. […] Sawyer, No matter what calendar I look at or how I calculate it you have now been gone for 5 years.  According to the secular/American calendar Friday was your deathiversary.  The Jewish calendar says that tonight is your yahrzeit. […]

  11. […] to the Jewish calendar the 10th anniversary/yahrzeit of Jake’s death was actually on Thursday.  So maybe I lived through it […]

  12. […] anniversary of Sawyer’s death (the Jewish yahrzeit and the English date) were both this past week.  I know that these anniversaries can be tough for […]


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