Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: Grandmothers at Rosh Hashana

Last week we celebrated Rosh Hashanah, as we ushered in the Jewish New Year 5771 (we've been around a while y'all).

We went to my elderly mother-in-law, Blanche's apartment to dip apples in honey, symbolizing our quest for a sweet year. This will certainty be her last, and we tried not to drown in bittersweetness as we lit candles, blessed challah, and kissed her very gently.

The next day we were off to a post-services lunch in New Jersey, a small gathering that included 60 or so of Danny's relatives.  Did I ever mention my husband comes from a LARGE close-knit family?  Did I mention we affectionately refer to them as "The Borg Collective"? (Star Trek reference revealing my true geek nature here.)  And while Blanche was clearly too frail to travel, we happily brought my mother along.

The one positive thing my father's passing has brought about is the opening up of my mother's life.  In the past few years, his increasing fragility kept him mostly home-bound (a sorry state for my adventurous far-traveling father) and Mom's loyalty to him kept her from leaving him behind, even for an afternoon ("But honey, he'd be so lonely.")  My mother does so love nature, and it was good for her soul to bring her out of the city last Thursday.

Coming up is Yom Kippur, the somberest of days, when we close out the old year and open up the new.   When we particularly mourn our dead.  I will be saying goodbye to the year my father died. I will be stepping into this new year, this 5771, fatherless, lightened of the burden of his care, but heavy of heart.

I will hold my mother's hand and feel the heaving of her shoulders as she cries again for the man she dearly loved, her true partner.  My mother, too is both lighter and heavier now.  She is slowly coming back to life, and I will help her move forward into to this new year, help her fill in the empty spaces with grandchildren and greenery.

It's not the same as a partner, but for now, it will do.

I’m linking up to Wordless Wednesday at Angry Julie Monday.


  1. What lovely pictures!
    You should link up this post to Tara's Gallery at her blog Sticky Fingers
    Her theme this week is celebration.

  2. A beautiful post, Varda. And I first read "borg" as "bong" and I thought, wow, what a fun family! ;)

  3. Oh Varda, I love the perspective of us being on a long continuum, wherein we are lightened and burdened all at once. What beautiful pictures, and what a gift for children to see themselves in their place on the continuum. Beautiful!

  4. This is a lovely post, and has furthered my understanding of important Jewish holidays. I have put my most recent post up on the Sticky fingers gallery - also about a large family reunion and the importance of gathering together to really get to know one another...

  5. Apples with honey truly are the best way to ring in the new year.

  6. L'Shana Tovah, my distant friend, and an east fast. Your blog is wonderful, just so ya' know...


  7. that, of course, was meant to say "an easy fast" (though I suspect breaking the fast with celebratory Chinese take out is also a noble tradition...


I am so sorry to have to turn word verification back on, but the spam-bots have found me - yikes!