Jewish tradition is to hold an unveiling of a headstone after Shiva, but before the one year yahrzeit. Today, is August 10, 2019. We picked this date really because it worked for the Dad, Max, and I. But, if you rewind 9 years ago to August 10, 2010 it was a day that our lives changed. I think there are a few moments in your life when everything changes. The night you meet the love of your life or the day you give birth to your first child. For us, August 10, 2010 is one of those days- but not a happy one.
Mom received the call that she had breast cancer. And so engrained in my memory is her looking at me and saying “I don’t want to go through this.” And I remember hugging her. Those seven words are so loaded. Fast forward 9 years, and I’m at my mom’s headstone unveiling. Mom, I don’t want to go through this either.
9 years, 108 months. 102 months with my mom. 6 months without. What a great 102 months. Well, maybe not the last one. And what a really not great last 6 months.
Mom always said she was spiritual, not religious. But, for some reason, knowing it was Shabbat, I looked up this week’s Torah portion. It’s D’varim, which is the first portion in the last book of the Torah. And in it, Moses retells the story of the 40 years the Israelites were in the wilderness. He tells them this before they go to the land of Canaan. It has not been 40 years, although at times grief has felt that way.
What this unveiling feels like to me, is the start of a new chapter. Just like the Torah starts a new chapter today and Moses and the Israelites started a new chapter in a new land, I feel like everything that had to do with hospice, death, funeral, Shiva, and cemetery plans that all culminates today. And now we get to put a period at the end of these last 6 months and take what my mom embodied forward with us into all the exciting new chapters coming. Of course, I want my mom in all of the next chapters. Although not here physically, she and my Grammy are absolutely running things on the other side and putting everything and everyone where they’re supposed to be.
So, tell it like it is. Throw a themed party for any occasion- Chinese New Year, Halloween, Brady Bunch in Hawaii luau… Turn vacuuming into an 80s dance party. And make every month, every moment count. All 102+.