Sunday, March 30, 2008


The Momma d’Elisson at age 20, in a photograph taken roughly 60 years ago.

Twenty years ago today - as reckoned by our civil calendar, anyway - I joined a vast club, a club with an almost universally reluctant membership: the Motherless Children’s Collective.

This year, owing to the vagaries of the Hebrew calendar, I’ll be observing my mother’s Yahrzeit beginning at sundown Wednesday, April 16. Three days before the onset of Passover, as always. But this time, it will be in a traditional Japanese inn - a ryokan - in Kyoto, a perfect place for the contemplation of Beauty and Inward Thoughts. Jews may be thin on the ground in the ancient capital city, but I will still be able to manage an Eil Malei Rachamim, if not a Kaddish.

Today being the anniversary date by the secular calendar, I feel the need to be a little maudlin, for which forgive me.

Mom was an active, intelligent woman, and she would have been proud of her granddaughters. That, perhaps, is what pains me the most, after all these years - that she never got to see the young women Elder Daughter and the Mistress of Sarcasm have blossomed into...and how much of her is in them.

In twenty years, the sense of loss gets a lot duller, though it never goes away completely. It’s like an old scar that aches when the weather changes, as if to say, “Now, you ain’t gonna forget me, Bub, are ya?” And you don’t forget. You could never forget. But life goes on, because it must.

Oy. This business of being maudlin? Definitely not Momma’s style. If she caught me writing this post, she’d kick my ass.

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