jeudi, novembre 19, 2009

The present tense

I am not sure that Eric remembered that today was the second anniversary of dad's death when he sent the email to his cousins before dawn this morning.

Two years have passed very quickly. I haven't reached the point, as most of us do, where the memories of his suffering recede to some extent, and those of more cheerful hours return.

Scan a brief memorial biography of dad, written by a colleague of his at Brooklyn, if you are interested in knowing more about him.

Eric's email wasn't about Dad, however. In many respects, Eric acts as the family historiographer. He's the man to query about long-dead relatives, the grandfather who faithfully sends his cousins videos, the person you want to call when you need information about a family event.

My cousin wanted to let us know that Grandpa's book was edging closer to publication. My grandfather was a turn of the century immigrant, and a rabbi. In his time, he was pretty well known - and in the arena of Judaic studies, still a man of historical importance.

Along with the information, Eric sent along a gift -- words from my father's heart.

His personal reflection on my grandfather will, in some way, become a part of the anthology. When I read the pages this morning, I hear the voice of the writer, with his unique style -- when did you last hear the word "minatory"?

But I also saw admiration, love, and warmth for a man that I hadn't ever known. I learned some family stories Dad hadn't ever told me -- did I never ask?

Just for a few moments, as the light grew, he was present -- as he had always been present, until he left us.

But I think the chain is unbroken.

We, like so many families, are bound by love, and memory, the difficult and disturbing along with the good -- and sometimes the rare, unsought, grace of the present tense.

1 commentaire:

norman pease a dit…

very nice piece of writing. One can feel the emotion, sense of loss and sadness, yet uplifted with ties to history and family. Though the reader does not know the actors, the writing brings one into group.