Wednesday, February 25, 2009


Today is my father’s yahrzeit; the anniversary of the day he died. Dad passed away 21 years ago today. Just typing “21 years” causes me to shake my head in disbelief. How could that many years have gone by without him in this world? This year, Dad’s yahrzeit feels a little sharper, likely because of the recent passing of Chuck’s Dad, Milton. Milton’s memorial or shiva candle burned for a week until last Friday. Now my Dad, George’s, much smaller yahrzeit candle, which we lit last night, will last one day, until this evening.

I have searched in vain for a particular quote. I remember having read something by Isabella Rossellini, something to the effect of: “There are two stages to a woman’s life: before her father passes away and after.”

This is after.

You can read the story behind how a Catholic daughter came to light a Jewish yahrzeit candle for her father by clicking here. My poem, “Your Yahrzeit” can also be found there.


dancingmorganmouse said...

It's a lovely tradition, and I love that you and Chuck were friends before, that's just wonderful and makes me smile.

barbie2be said...

i do the same thing for my father. we lost them so close together and didn't even know it. my father died in january of 1988.

hang in there, peace will be yours.

Pink Granite said...

Hi DMM -
The tradition of the yahrzeit and lighting the candle does bring a great deal of comfort.

When Chuck and I first met, we felt as if we were old friends who hadn't seen each other in a long time.
That friendship created a really strong foundation for all that came later.
Glad you smiled...
- Lee

Hi B2B -
Losing our Dads within weeks of each other is one more connection we share. This blogosphere works in mysterious ways.
Who knows, maybe our Dads helped steer a virtual connection for their daughters?
- Lee

Sue said...

What a beautiful tradition. This year will be 5 years since Jacques died and I never quite know how to 'remember' him on the day. I had given thought to fasting for those tough days, but I like food too much!! To be honest, I normally just hide and make sure I'm in bed by about 8pm. I need to start letting Jake know about anniversaries and birthdays, so that he can have special days to think about his dad too and to celebrate the life that was!! Your candle is so symbolic in so many ways and it's really special that Chuck was the instigator!

Quite intersting that my gran died in December 1987, barbie2be's in Jan 1988 and your dad in Feb 1988...

Lots of hugs,
Sue x

PS. Your poem was very touching and left me with tears in my eyes. Such true words

Pink Granite said...

Hi Sue -
It is a beautiful tradition, which can bring great comfort. The little glass contained yahrzeit or memorial candles (which look very much like votive candles) are available over here in almost any large grocery store. They're located in the Kosher food section along with boxes of shabbat/shabbos candles.

The tradition is to light just one memorial candle right after sundown, the evening before the anniversary of your loved one's death. There is no required prayer. But tradition calls for saying "Zichrono/Zichrona liveracha" "His/Her memory is a blessing" as you light the candle.

Then the yahrzeit candle burns all the way down until it's finished, 24 hours later. We place ours on a metal plate. For safety's sake, if we have to leave the house, we just set the candle on the plate, on top of the stove.

If you and Jake decide to honor Jacques' passing, his memory and his legacy by lighting a yahrzeit on his upcoming fifth anniversary, I hope that it brings you some comfort.

I also wonder if instead of fasting (which you've already discarded!) perhaps you might want to enjoy some dish which was a favorite of Jacques.

Thinking about your Gran, there was so much loss over those few months for us and now here we all are chatting on a regular basis. What a wonderful world it is!

Wishing you peace...
- Lee