My apologies….

I must apologize to my parents. I am sorry, Mom and Dad. I forgot to light the yarzheit candles in your memory on Yom Kippur.

It wasn’t until  the Yizkor service that I realized my mistake.

I love the moment  when we are sitting in the Sanctuary, the late afternoon sun is streaming through the stained glass windows casting a golden glow over the congregation  and  representatives from the Sisterhood stand at each of the memorial boards and  turn on all of the lights on the memorial plaques.

I know this is a memorial service for those who have passed away and it is traditionally very solemn, but something about the moment makes me feel more joyous than sad.

There is something comforting about all of those people and all of their lights and all of their lives lighting up together for us to feel and remember them all. It is not like the lonely one or two lights that shine during services at each Shabbat, commemorating the individual Yahrzeits.

It is collective and powerful and fills me.

Somehow I imagine that it has a similar effect on  those whose memories are being honored as well. They might feel a little less lonely since they are being remembered in a crowd. Lighting up together, connecting through our collective memories.

So that’s when I remembered that I forgot to light the candles at home and I was sad. It gives me similar solace to see the light of my parents’ memories dancing together on our kitchen counter for a full 24 hours and I missed it.

I light a single candle on the anniversary of each of their deaths, but it feels a bit more lonely and a reminder of our  loss.

The funny thing is that I planned ahead. If you call shopping on eBay planning ahead. I ordered yarzheit candles and special holders from Israel. I purchased them months in advance in anticipation of this moment.

And then I forgot.

My family suggested that I could still do it when we got home, but it did not feel right. The flame would seem false. In reality, the service would be enough.

I am pretty sure that it bothers me more than it would my parents. They were of a generally forgiving nature in life. I can’t imagine it would be any different now.

I will remember next year. I will remember them and the others and the candles.

Meanwhile, in the spirit of the Yamim Noraim, my apologies. I will try again in 5773.

9 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Martha Gershun
    Oct 15, 2011 @ 01:12:05

    This is so beautiful, Lorrie. I forgot, too – next year we can remind each other.


  2. Laurie Hanan
    Oct 15, 2011 @ 03:28:45

    Lovely words. The spirit of community, unity, and a collective remembering on Yom Kippur moved me, too. When all those lights came on I felt a stirring of warmth, not sadness.


  3. Alissa
    Oct 15, 2011 @ 03:37:11

    Very nicely written. I am sure the thougth is enough, and you thought of them in many ways!


  4. freecatholic808
    Dec 01, 2011 @ 02:25:30

    So glad you introduced me to your blog, Lorraine. Moderating the media panel today at the nonprofit conference was a little like lighting a candle for my father, the newspaper editor I mentioned in my introductory remarks about why I am a media junkie 🙂 He passed away 20 years ago but he is so present in my life in every way: in what I do, in the skills I have acquire, in my fondness for writing. I like to think I honor his memory every time I put those skills to work. Your wistful post about forgetting to light a candle for your parents at Yom Kippur made me think of him again. Your writing about it IS like lighting a candle for them.Look forward to following your blog–exactly the kind of interfaith connection I hoped to build by starting mine. Good luck posting. Dawn


    • Being Jewish in Hawaii
      Dec 01, 2011 @ 02:46:07

      Hi Dawn, I am looking forward to reading your blog as well. Thank you for keeping it interesting this morning. It was a great session. I’ll look forward to continued connections. Shaloha, Lorraine


  5. Nhung Tran
    Dec 01, 2011 @ 11:21:34

    you make me miss my mom so much…:((. Thanks for the post


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