Our tradition requires a mourner to conclude the saying of kaddish at the end of the eleventh month; one month prior to the end of the year of aveilus. This early cut off derives from the belief that only full fledged evil doers are punished by the Almighty for the full twelve months after death. So as not to suggest that one’s parent was such a person we do not say kaddish during the final month of the yearlong mourning period.
I guess because I am in the eleventh month I started to think this week, ‘What has the past ten months been like for my mother and father, may they rest in peace?’ I hope this does not sound “a bit out there”. But while of course I do not know the answer to that question I can at the very least imagine what it has been like for my parents.
I am sure that my father a”h must have been waiting with open arms to be reunited with my mother after 29 years of separation. Their love for each other was pure, genuine and intense. If there was a “silver lining” in my mother’s death it was that it resulted in their being reunited for eternity.
I also imagine the reward received by mother these past ten months for those many years during which she (and my father) cared for her mother. When my grandmother was widowed a few months before I was born, my parents welcomed her into their home where she lived some thirty plus years until several months after my father passed away in 1985. It is hard to imagine in today’s world a parent living with a married child for virtually the entirety of the child’s marriage – but that is exactly what my mother did. No doubt she is reaping a great reward in the heavens above.
And lastly I wonder what are my parents are able to see and discern about how I am living my life. Am I meeting their expectations? Am I making them proud? You know – even after our parents die, we still want to make them proud.