The Pandemic Yizkor

young man in black t-shirt and pants shown from behind standing at curtained window, parting the curtain and looking outside. Curtain is a gauzy white and there is a black area to the right, creating a stark white and black effect to the scene.

This is the yahrzeit of the Life we lived before.

This is the anniversary of the time we first sat at home, praying in our fashion, every day.

This is the stealth yahrzeit that brings anger, impatience, fatigue, tears that burn and stain.

It is the anniversary remembered like a death: not by the day on the calendar but by our hearts and our cells.

This is the yahrzeit of the time we didn’t hesitate before a handshake, of the days we took seeing faces for granted.

This is the yahrzeit of the funerals we couldn’t attend, of the new babies we couldn’t hold …

Of the birthdays and weddings and b’nai mitzvot we could not celebrate with hugs and kisses, holding hands as we danced.

It is the yahrzeit of hip-hop recitals, summer camp, Little League, Graduation Day.

It is in memory of date night, of romantic getaways, and of naked afternoons while the kids were at Grandma’s.

It is the yahrzeit of the retirement party not held, the trip of a lifetime not taken,

Of our steady employment, of keeping the apartment, of making the mortgage, of not fearing the proximity of our co-workers.

It is the yahrzeit of going to the office, of shopping in stores, of handling objects without thinking and petting other peoples’ pups with abandon.

It is the anniversary of the time we believed we might be alone forever, that loneliness would kill us before a virus ever got the chance.

It is the yahrzeit of the goodbyes we didn’t whisper in unhearing ears, respects not fully paid, the bodily comfort we could neither give nor receive while we rocked and wept and wailed.

This is the time of Yizkor for the Life we lived before:

Let us light a candle for that Life.

May our grief for that Life be light.

May the memory of that Life be for a blessing.

Let us praise and sanctify this Life, and that Life, and let us say: Amen.

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