rows of empty pews

It feels strange having this holy day without you
though in truth
it still feels odd
that any day goes on without you.
Your name has changed where it sits on my lips
from healing and hope
to memory and mourning.
I thought
because you were young
and strong, healthy, smart
that you would fight your disease
the way you fought all your law cases
the way you played baseball
the way you raised your kids
with gusto, verve, courage, honesty
and aggressive tenacity.
And you did
But cancer fought too
How many years you used to come and sit in the congregation
saying your mother’s name for Yizkor
sitting with my mother
as you both remembered your early losses
But you had each other
And now – too early in life –
I will read your name for Yizkor
the list of remembrance grows longer
as the pews of loved ones who will be missed start to feel endless
like gaps in the fabric of my being
Life pushes forward regardless
wholeness with the holes.

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