Shana Tova - Love who you Love - Here & Gone


It's already becoming dark outside earlier. It's already Fall. The Jewish New Year is knocking at the door and standing there by it are the souls we have lost in the year gone by.

Whenever there is a holiday or a reason for our family to get together and sit around a dinner table I am reminded of how fortunate I am. At the same time, I look for family members, people I have so greatly loved and so very much miss who no longer sit there in a chair conversing, laughing and looking my way.

We all lose people we love and when holidays come around, especially the New Year, a myriad of memories flood our minds and churn at our souls leaving us short of breath and weak at the knees.

A Grandmother, a sister, a brother, an uncle, a mom, a dad - where have they gone and how do you move forward without them?

Scents bring me back. This time of year when I arrive at my parents home and I smell the chicken soup, roast potatoes and my mother's incredible cakes and pies, I can close my eyes and see all of us seated at a long table with cousins, aunts, uncles, all at them Grandmother's apartment to celebrate a holiday. I hear her laughter - a cackle and complain that the brisket is too rough (difficult to chew). I see the looks on the faces of her siblings all long since passed from this world. They are dressed up, perfumed, hair puffed in a whitish gray and smiling - so happy to be out of their abodes if even for a few hours - surrounded by family.

I smell perfume and meatballs. I see my brother and I sneaking out so we can run up and down the halls for no apparent reason until my father comes looking for us and we race back inside.

I see my Uncle up-right and present although he was given a diagnosis - terminal Cancer - just weeks before and somehow he makes it through all the way to Spring and Passover. He is relishing the company and studying the faces of his children and my brothers am me as if we were posing for sketch - a drawing that he is memorizing and printing in his soul so when he leaves, he will have our faces, our laughter, our innocence within him.

I also see my family dog Casey. He is a tiny Yorkie running around beneath every ones feet hoping for "drop offs". He knows to plant himself by my father whose lap is like an interstate highway with food racing down it to the floor. Casey goes on to live for 14 years and you can see his loss, his final breath in my mother's eyes - ingrained there forever.

We all see, remember and think of different people in our lives who are no longer with us in every day reality but who will remain with us in our hearts and souls for eternity.

This time of year is about sweetness that falls like honey into the moments that make up our lives. Yet it is bittersweet in so many ways as well. It's a balancing act of where we are, where we were and where we are going although the latter is impossible to predict and the past impossible to alter.

It's the "now" we need to nurture. It's the family and friends who surround us in bringing this New Year in that we need to appreciate and for whom we need to show thanks.

And when we close our eyes it's still okay to have whomever we are missing right there at the table with us because you know what? They've been there all along.

Shana Tova