Mothers Day Weekend / 6 Months In

I decided to visit my parents this morning. Maybe because I needed advice from my dad, or because I knew Mother’s Day was coming up for my mom. I just needed to be with them, in any way I can. Sometimes I can feel their presence or souls at their grave, and other times it takes a while for me to connect. Today it didn’t take more than a few seconds for me to run up to my mothers grave, touching the headstone, crying and wishing with all my heart that I could give her a hug. 

“Mommy, mommy.” I sobbed. “Mommy, I’m here to remind you I still love you. You’re still with me. Happy Mother’s Day. I haven’t forgotten you mommy. I love you I love you I love you. I miss you so much.” I cried and closed my eyes, and with lots of concentration, and lots of previous practice the past couple of weeks, I closed my eyes, and I meditated on a moment in the past with her. I imagined how she looked, before she was sick. I pictured her in her room, and she was healthy, and joyous, and full of love. I hugged her. I hugged her in my mind and cried and she hugged me back. And I stayed there for a while this image.  I knew I could have stayed there all day like that. Touching her headstone, tracing the words on it that read her name. Yehudis Chava. 

But I knew I had to see my dad too. Our custom is not to go to the grave during the first year. They say the soul is working hard to go where it needs to go. It’s hard and it won’t help for us to distract it with our pain and our cries and our sobs. It might just want to come back down. But my father is buried slightly behind my mother, and in the right spot, if I stood a short distance away, I had a clear view. Aron Yoel. The tears didn’t stop racing down my face at this point, and I didn’t try to stop them. The loss was so fresh. Tomorrow will be 6 months. I closed my eyes and tried to do the same meditation with my mothers grave, but I couldn’t. I couldn’t because my father didn’t really give hugs. He wasn’t the affectionate physical type. He showed his love in other ways. Sometimes he’d let me squeeze his shoulders or touch his hand or give him a soft kiss on his forehead. 

So I focused on a different image instead. 

I remember when I would come in for shabbos, I would walk from my apartment or I would sleepover. I lived away from the house and he anticipated my weekend visits. I would walk in the kitchen door and he would be waiting for me at the table. I’d walk in, and as I opened the door, he would look up. He was sitting on his chair at the table, waiting for me to arrive, for this moment when his daughter came home at last. His face would break into a smile. I would catch his eyes for a second before he would look back down or go back to his previous conversation. He would tell me to sit down, enjoy, eat. I could feel his happiness in the room that I was there. When any of his children were there. 

I pictured his face and his shining blue eyes and smile as I stood a distance away from his grave. I cried and cried and cried. And I kept seeing him smiling at me. I didn’t want to leave. But I knew it would never be a good time to leave. This is where my parents are. How can I ever leave?

When I finally said goodbye, I turned around and his life long friend pulled up – the one we grew up with our whole life and was with him every day before he died – he pulled right up to the grave – to take me back home. Almost as if my father sent him at that exact moment. Almost, as if he was still taking care of me, even now that he’s gone. 

He used to tell us an interesting phrase. 
We’d ask, which kid is your favorite? Come on, tell us the truth! Jokingly, of course. 
He’d respond, very seriously, “A father has no favorites. A mother can get jealous of her children, but a father loves all of his children equally.” And I never believed him. But I’m starting to now.

It’s Mother’s Day on Sunday, so this was for my mom. But it’s six months from my fathers passing tomorrow. So this is for my dad.

I love you both. Thanks for watching over me, and always being in my heart.

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