Posts in Birthdays
Yizkor Reading

Shall I cry out in anger, O God,
Because Your gifts are mine but for a while? Shall I forget the blessing of health
The moment there is pain?

Shall I be ungrateful for the laughter,
the seasons of joy, the days of gladness,
when tears cloud my eyes and darken the world and my heart is heavy within me?

Shall I blot from my mind the love
I have rejoiced in when fate
leaves me bereft of shining presences that have lit my way through the years of companionship and affection?

Shall I, in days of adversity, fail to recall the hours of glory You once did grant me?

Shall I, in turmoil of need and anxiety,
Cease blessing You for the peace of former days? Shall the time of darkness put out for ever
The glow of light in which once I walked?

Give me the vision, O God, to see
that embedded in each of your gifts
is a core of eternity, undiminished and bright,
an eternity that survives the dread hours of affliction.

Those I have loved, though now beyond my view, Have given form and quality to my being.
They have led me into the wide universe
I continue to inhabit, and their presence

is more real to me than their absence.

What You give to me, O Lord, You never take away.
And bounties granted once Shed their radiance evermore. —by Morris Adler

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As We Look Back

As we look back over time  
We find ourselves wondering  
Did we remember to thank you enough  
For all you have done for us?  
For all the times you were by our sides  
To help and support us  
To celebrate our successes  
To understand our problems  
And accept our defeats?  
Or for teaching us by your example,  
The value of hard work, good judgement,  
Courage and integrity?  
We wonder if we ever thanked you  
For the sacrifices you made.  
To let us have the very best?  
And for the simple things  
Like laughter, smiles and times we shared?  
If we have forgotten to show our  
Gratitude enough for all the things you did,  
We're thanking you now.  
And we are hoping you knew all along,  
How much you meant to us.  

-- Clare Jones

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Belief

I have to believe  
That you still exist  
Somewhere,  
That you still watch me  
Sometimes  
That you still love me  
Somehow.  

I have to believe  
That life has meaning  
Somehow  
That I am useful here  
Sometimes,  
That I make small differences  
Somewhere.  

I have to believe  
That I need to stay here  
For some time,  
That all this teaches me  
Something,  
So that I can meet you again  
Somewhere. 

-- Ann Thorp

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Advice from La Llorona

Each grief has its unique side.

Choose the one that appeals to you.

Go gently.

Your body needs energy to repair the amputation.

Humor phantom pain.


Your brain cells are soaked with salt;

connections fail unexpectedly and often.

Ask for help.

Accept help.


Read your grief like the daily newspaper:

headlines may have information you need.

Scream. Drop-kick the garbage can across the street.


Don’t feel guilty if you have a good time.

Don’t act as if you haven’t been hit by a Mack Truck.

Do things a little differently


but don’t make a lot of changes.

Revel in contradiction.

Talk to the person who died.

Give her a piece of your mind.


Try to touch someone at least once a day.

Approach grief with determination.

Pretend the finish line doesn’t keep receding.

Lean into the pain.

You can’t outrun it.

-- Deborah A. Miranda  

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Living Each Day

Now I am gone, now I am lost to you 

Find me again just as you used to do: 

  

In the house – when you go from room to room you’ll find 

The bits and pieces that I’ve left behind. 

  

In the street – of course . . . I’ve stopped to window-shop; 

You carry on, my love, I’ll catch you up. 

  

At night – as darkness slowly fills the sky: 

I’m late; don’t fret; I’ll be there by and by. 

  

At morning – when the sky is still blue-black, 

I had to go out early: I’ll be back. 

 

In sunshine – as you peer into the glare – 

A shape that seems to be both light and air. 

  

In rain – as you look out and people pass – 

One leaves a reflection printed on the glass. 

  

In the garden – when you doze away the hours 

I pass with a smile on my face, and my arms full of flowers. 

  -- Lisa Kitson

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The Return of the King

“There, peeping among the cloud-wrack above a dark tower

high up in the mountains, Sam saw a white star twinkle for a while.

The beauty of it smote his heart, as he looked up

out of the forsaken land, and hope returned to him.

For like a shaft, clear and cold, the thought pierced him

that in the end the Shadow was only a small and passing thing:

there was light and high beauty for ever beyond its reach.”  

-- J.R.R. Tolkien

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Memorial Day

It is easily forgotten, year to 

year, exactly where the plot is, 

though the place is entirely familiar 

a willow tree by a curving roadway    

sweeping black asphalt with tender leaves; 

  

damp grass strewn with flower boxes, 

canvas chairs, darkskinned old ladies 

circling in draped black crepe family stones,    

fingers cramped red at the knuckles, discolored    

nails, fresh soil for new plants, old rosaries; 

  

such fingers kneading the damp earth gently down    

on new roots, black humus caught in grey hair    

brushed back, and the single waterfaucet, 

birdlike upon its grey pipe stem, 

a stream opening at its foot. 

  

We know the stories that are told, 

by starts and stops, by bent men at strange joy    

regarding the precise enactments of their own    

gesturing. And among the women there will be    

a naming of families, a counting off, an ordering. 

  

The morning may be brilliant; the season 

is one of brilliances sunlight through 

the fountained willow behind us, its splayed    

shadow spreading westward, our shadows westward,    

irregular across damp grass, the close-set stones. 

  

It may be that since our walk there is faltering, 

moving in careful steps around snow-on-the-mountain,    

bluebells and zebragrass toward that place 

between the willow and the waterfaucet, the way    

is lost, that we have no practiced step there, 

and walking, our own sway and balance, fails us. 

  -- Michael Anania

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The Inevitable

While I was fearing it, it came, 

 But came with less of fear, 

 Because that fearing it so long 

 Had almost made it dear. 

 There is a fitting a dismay, 

 A fitting a despair. 

 'Tis harder knowing it is due, 

 Than knowing it is here. 

 The trying on the utmost, 

 The morning it is new, 

 Is terribler than wearing it 

 A whole existence through. 

 -- Emily Dickinson 

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Prayer of Faith

We trust that beyond absence there is a presence. 

That beyond the pain there can be healing. 

That beyond the brokenness there can be wholeness. 

That beyond the anger there may be peace. 

That beyond the hurting there may be forgiveness. 

That beyond the silence there may be the word. 

That beyond the word there may be understanding. 

That through understanding there is love.  

-- Unknown

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Finding You in Beauty

 

The rays of light filtered through 

The sentinels of trees this morning. 

I sat in the garden and contemplated. 

The serenity and beauty 

Of my feelings and surroundings 

Completely captivated me. 

I thought of you. 

I discovered you tucked away 

In the shadows of the trees. 

Then, rediscovered you  

In the smiles of the flowers 

As the sun penetrated their petals 

In the rhythm of the leaves 

Falling in the garden 

In the freedom of the birds 

As they fly searching as you do. 

I’m very happy to have found you, 

Now you will never leave me 

For I will always find you in the beauty of life.

-- Walter Rinder 

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I Shall Live Beyond Death

I shall live beyond death, and I shall sing in your ears

Even after the vast sea-wave carries me back  

To the vast sea-depth.  

I shall sit at your board though without a body,  

And I shall go with you to your fields, a spirit invisible.  

I shall come to you at your fireside, a guest unseen.  

Death changes nothing but the masks that cover our faces.  

The woodsman shall be still a woodsman,  

The ploughman, a ploughman,  

And he who sang his song to the wind shall sing it also to  

              the moving spheres.  

-- Kahlil Gibran, from The Garden of The Prophet

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To Those Who Are Crushed By Mourning

Those who are worn out and crushed by this mourning,

let your hearts consider this: This is the path that has existed from the time

of creation and will exist forever.

Many have drunk from it and many will yet drink.

As was the first meal, so shall be the last.

May the master of comfort comfort you.

Blessed are those who comfort the mourners.

-- Jewish blessing

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