I am writing this as I prepare to leave for Kever Avot, a ritual of remembering all those beloved to us who have died this past year and beyond.
Kever Avot goes back really to the beginning of time, along with the construction of headstones, tombs and memorials to the dead. This past Shabbat was the 20th anniversary of 9/11, a time of collective remembering for those of us alive then.
We take time in life to often acknowledge the bittersweet memories of times we spent with our loved ones, sometimes those memories are raw and sometimes softened with time. Time has erased the engraving on my sister’s headstone, now her name is barely legible, as 65 years have passed since her death. My parents are gone, as is one of my brothers.
We had a visit from the young daughter of friends who moved to Toronto a few decades ago. Their daughter stayed with us a few days. One morning she asked me if we spent a lot of time at auctions. I was confused for a moment, and then I laughed and said, “No, we have just inherited and been given furniture and tchotchkes by family and friends who have died.” She looked momentarily shocked, but our reality is very many people we have known over the years are dead. Their chair or table or lamp or bookcase holds their memory for us, and a more dear form of interior decorating I do not know.
On Kol Nidre and Yom Kippur, we will plead to be written into the Book of Life. Let us also acknowledge that the lives of those we have loved lives on.
May the coming year, 5782, hold blessings and long life for each of you,