Tag Archives: yahrzeit

A Birthday, An Adoption, A Yahrzeit

In that order.  I won’t look back right now, but I think I write virtually the same post at this time every year.  Maybe you haven’t read this blog for long, or maybe you haven’t remembered enough for me to be embarrassed for the repetition.  Or maybe, with things in life, like birth and death and adoption, it’s ok to repeat oneself.

May is a big month for me.  A month of no particular significance in my life until after I was 40 years old– but a big, huge month for me now.  On Sunday, my daughter, born in 2001, will be 11 years old.  I am already thinking a lot about that age and what it means– to her and to me and to us.  I am thinking about her and what I’d like to write about her and what I want to wish for her in the coming year.

Her birth and her adoption were obviously two different events– and I was there for one and not the other.  It is still unfolding year by year and I am still learning –as is she– what these facts mean to her– and what they mean to me.   In some ways the facts of her beginnings and then the facts of the family she got– have given her an interesting and broad perspective.  I know she loves the family she got and we so love her.   This year it was also more open and visible than in the past, that this part of her story– adoption– is a hard thing to carry with her.  I don’t think I’ve written them– but there were two different nights this year when I came home to find my daughter laying on the bed, crying and crying, openly and brokenheartedly– with my partner laying next to her, just tender and listening as she cried about her birth mother never having chosen to meet her.

Nine years ago today just three days before my daughter’s second birthday, my father, who was quite ill but not expected to die, died very suddenly and unexpectedly.  I was already grieving about him, because he was so ill.  But he when he died  I had not said goodbye and I wasn’t ready to say goodbye.  But I did.  I had to.  So we have a yahrzeit today and a birthday later this week.   I am full of so many feelings and I am at work and doing my regular things and at home a candle is burning and I do very much, miss my father.

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Hello again. Gone two weeks and didn’t even leave a note.

We are just back from a great, long 10-day trip for my daughter’s spring break.
I meant to leave word that I was signing off for a bit.  I meant to write while I was away.  I meant to say happy Passover.  Or happy spring.  When it started to look like I wouldn’t get the time or privacy to do this writing on our trip, I meant to post pictures.  Daily.  Getting out of town, especially for a longer trip, is sometimes challenging around here.

Just before I left I spent several interesting days at a feminist conference, had a couple of informational interviews, applied for a job, did an inordinate amount of laundry (I really mean an enormous amount of laundry– how do three people who aren’t coal miners or professional athletes generate all that?) and did about a zillion other things.

We went to San Francisco where my very close, old friend, L. (my first blogging partner) lives with her daughters and partner/husband.  We adore them.  I’ve wanted to write about Passover, this particular Passover and the meanings Passover has for me at different times.  The wonderful seder we made.  The spinning classes I went to with my friend at a YMCA in San Francisco.  The YMCA there full of women and men from ages 16-87 in all shapes and sizes.  The clusters of old Chinese women speaking English with each other.  Jewish women, Black women, fat and skinny women. There were things to write about being with my partner and daughter and my mother– and with my friend’s mother.  Our two mothers met for the first time in the 30-plus years of L’s and my friendship. I want to write about suddenly being old enough to have 30-plus year friendships.

There were visits with two other important friends in San Francisco and there is always the beauty of the scenery and the light there.

The second and third parts of the trip were Chicago.  My Chicago.  City first then suburb.  My sister and my nephews joined us.  We adore them.  The particular way I can relax, laugh and cry when I am with my sister.  My nephew J. and his very interesting and wonderful mind.  We all love him.
My nephew I., whose birth I was at– who now towers above me, drives, travels to foreign countries.  We all love him.  Being with my mother in her home.

In Jewish practice there is a period called shloshim (which means thirty).  It refers to the first thirty days after a death.  It refers to that very intense period of intense pain and awareness in the thirty days following the death of an immediate family member.  My father’s yahrzeit (anniversary of a death) comes on May 17.  Passover eight years ago was the last time I was with him while he was alive and then he died very suddenly.  Since his death, I experience my own shloshim in the 30 days before his yahrzeit.  An acute awareness that he is gone, that things were hard, that he was a good, Jewish man, that I learned from him and struggled with him.  The pain of having lost him suddenly, without having had the chance to say goodbye.

Now we are back in our home.  Besides this intense period of time leading up to my father’s yahrzeit, it is mundane right now.  I threw my back out so badly hauling luggage up the stairs of our walk-up at 1:00 a.m. when we finally arrived at our building from the airport last night I am twisted into the shape of an S.  I know my chiropractor will bail me out on Wednesday but for now it feels like my father just died on the one hand and on the other, my hurt back keeps me occupied with questions like, “hmm, can I lift that milk into the shelf in the fridge without a wrench?; Can I walk from the car to there or should I look for a closer parking place?”

Once I see the chiropractor, my back will regain it’s straight strength and with straight back my brain too will unkink and I will think and write interesting thoughts again about many different things.  But for now, sorry I left without so much as a note.  Photos to follow.