Today should be my mother's birthday and I can't send the amethyst scarf I picked out for her. It's a misty color between lilac and lavender that she loved so much. The first thirty days of mourning are passed but there is still so much I want to tell her. Is it possible to say "I love you" enough?
I stand wondering as the heavy and slow shadow of this world presses on my shoulders. The ticking of a clock somewhere marks the passing minutes.
Beneath my window is a park with slides, swings and a carousel that doesn't carouse. I watch girls jumping rope between watching over little siblings. One girl leans on a stroller talking to three friends, ignoring little boys chasing each other noisily around a wall. The toddlers play intently in the sandbox.
For my grandmother's 82nd brithday, the family rented a hall. Over 200 of her direct descendants and their families were able to come. The newspaper covered this very special event and published a picture of five generations, from my grandmother down to my sister's six-month-old granddaughter. When they asked my grandmother how she felt, she replied, "Awed and very humble."
The park is emptying now. It is growing dusky and two men rush to maariv past the bench where once I sat watching my children. My children are now too old for slides. They are off to yeshiva, seminary, or starting families.
The park is silent. Tomorrow the children will be back. Grandchildren of the Holocaust will play with children whose ancestors fled from the Spanish Inquisition. Like a braided challa with its ins and outs, they escaped to Poland by roundabout way of Holland, or to Baghdad via Turkey, to meet. Here the children are gathered again.
Beneath my window shadows stretch dark fingers into the sunset gold across the silent grounds and the empty paths.
I feel awed. And very humble.