Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Papa's Yhartzeit

Looking for oncoming traffic before turning on to York Street on my way to a yoga class, I saw the lead hearse in what turned out to be a very long funeral procession. Tears welled, and I cried. I had no idea who had died, no idea where those tears had come from—until at lunch, I told the story to Dick, my husband. “Is it anybody’s yhartzeit, (anniversary of a death)?” he said. “In April?”

I shook my head. “I don’t think so.” 

Then, memory flooded back. I ran upstairs, opened the drawer of my bedside table, found the small piece of paper where I’d written my grandparents’ birth dates and the dates of their deaths. Abraham Block, April 25, 1958.

I raced downstairs. “Dick, what’s the date?”

 “April 25th.

“You’re sure?"

He gave me one his looks. 

"It’s my grandfather’s yhartzeit. I can’t believe it. How can that be?”

"I guess you remembered."

Taking a yhartzeit candle from a cabinet, I struck a match. No, not I. I didn't remember. Perhaps, my body did. But I wouldn't have known, really known unless I'd told the story.