Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Invitation to an Unveiling

At some point, the cloth is removed from the stone,
and there is a suspension of mourning for

In thinking on this reminds me of my mother’s paternal Grandfather, Solomon Bernstein (Shlomo Zalman), for whom I am named. Since my family follows Ashkenazi practice, this means I never met him. 

Therefore, the memories I have of him are in pictures, stories, and remembrances.  When I listen for him, I am most likely to hear my mother or grandmother telling me this or that story. And I can really see him in black and white: sitting formally, or sprawling with my mother perched on his shoulder.

And while several times a year, I light candles for my mother and grandmother, which is a temporary return to mourning from memory. I do not think I have ever lit them for my great-grandfather.  I am not even sure of the date for this.

But every now and then some event triggers my remembrance – a sort of mourning -- for him, and everyone I do not have. It’s payment for the pleasure of their company.

I knew my father longer, (though not better) than almost anyone else still alive.

The memories I have of my father are colored and varied. They have my point of view embedded in them -- changing in height and position.

And though my children and wife have their own memories, I know that there is much they have about my father is in the faded color of my retelling.

In time, I hope for grandchildren.  And for them, my father will be less colored, and so eventually will I.

Perhaps, we can become family heirloom necklaces – a bit tangled by being kept in the same box. And thus, the story of snatching of a child from the deep end of the pool will be told of me not my father, or ‘no so old’ being told of my father not my mother’s grandfather.

I like the idea of fading together.

There will be a time when the candles and triggers which spark the return to mourning from memory will not be lit for either of any of us.

But this is the end of the first year, so  this is not that time for my father. So we remove the covering on his marker, so our mourning is suspended and his memory may be only for a blessing.