I’ll ask her in the morning…

On the day of her funeral, the sun was shining and the sky was a clear, blue. Funerals’ weather somehow is always meaningful, whether “the sky is crying” or not. For my mom’s, it was a glorious spring day, one of those days, on which she’d get up, bright and early, pull the curtains wide open to the view, take a deep breath, appreciating being alive, and plan to go hiking, or take a long walk along the beach, not before she’d call, check on her grandchildren, and tell me how beautiful the world is, not painless, but ever so beautiful.
On that day, too, the slopes of the green Carmel Mountain were carpeted with wild flowers in all colors. The red anemonies and pinkish cyclamens could be seen even from the cemetery gate, where a large crowd assembled. So much so that I started complaining why “they” schedule two funerals at the same time. “They” didn’t. It was just one. People gathered in a mixture of tears and smiles, condolences and memories. Everybody seemed busy so I walked alone, up the path through the graves to the funeral home, where her body was prepared. I would have liked to sit by her as her “shomeret”, but was not allowed… So many “rules” governed so much of our life, dictating what’s ok and not ok to do, even to that very last minute. “Your mother? I can tell by the palms of her hands, she was a tzadeket and died like the righteous ones, with a kiss”, said the Hevra Kadisha attendant.
I walked down, wondering about the bond between parents and children; about how much we miss, chasing each other through time, and what do we actually know about each other.
The night before the funeral, jet-lagged, sleepless, exhausted, deeply pained and strangely calm, I rummaged through boxes of pictures, binders of the letters we exchanged over many years, postcards in tiny handwriting, little souvenirs from all over the world. Every so often, I’d come across something, a photo of her or someone else I could not recognize (or her with someone else I could not recognize -). I found myself thinking, it’s ok, I’ll just ask her in the morning.
That thought was there throughout the funeral too: ‘I have to remember who came so I can tell her later’, as if this was some event she happened to miss. I could see her raise an eyebrow over her wonderful green eyes, peeking from behind her glasses, and say, nu tof… in her accent (and when I’d comment on that, she’d say, me? haaf an aczent??).
It’s been 12 years. And even before then, we spent many moons with an ocean between us. I inherited the “strength” to manage the daily stuff, and “all is well”. But on Sunday mornings, I still miss the phone ringing. And the thought of what I’d like to tell her, will probably never go away.
יהי זכרה ברוך.

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7 Responses to I’ll ask her in the morning…

  1. Linda Laflamme Neska says:

    Thank you….I could feel your emptiness….your love thank you

  2. juliedanan says:

    Such beautiful and bittersweet recollections. And so hard to be far away all those years. I also know that feeling of wanting to tell my mom. What a wonderful picture, too, of such an active and beautiful woman.

  3. Sylvia Buehler says:

    It will be 6 years on Feb. 15th and 18th that Oma and Opa are gone. I also miss their almost daily phone calls.



  4. Nitza Agam says:

    We hear their voices, feel their arms, want so much to speak to them. My mother comes to me in my dreams, last night my grandmother, her mother. They are so close. Hard to reconcile the absence with the presence. You brought her to life and the longing to life as well. Zichrona LeBracha for our lovely mothers who loved us so much.

  5. Tamar Beneli says:

    מיכל יקרה – את תמיד מרגשת אותי בכתיבתך
    ואני מזדהה – אימי נפטרה לפני 5 שנים לערך, אבי נפטר לפני 44 שנים והוא בן 50 בלבד
    הורים יקרים
    אני שולחת לך חיבוק ומקווה לניחומים

  6. חגית says:

    זה היה יום הפטירה הלועזי של אבא. 2/7/2914
    מתגעגעת. בוכה. אוהבת

  7. tali says:

    שולחת לך חיבוקים ממרחקים
    כתבת כל כך כנה. היא זכתה לבת כמוך

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