In Jewish tradition, sometime near the one year anniversary of a loved one's death, family members come together for an unveiling, a tradition in which blessings and prayers are recited and sung and the departed's headstone is unveiled. Last weekend we traveled to Florida to meet up with family and celebrate an unveiling for Jeff's beloved Grandmother Sylvia who died last summer.
We stood in the oppressive heat of Florida, the Florida that felt incomplete with Sylvia no longer in it. We surrounded the veiled grave marker. Aunt Lynne read from Psalms.
"God will guard your coming and going now and forever."
The Moleh, the memorial prayer, was said.
Memories were shared: Sylvia's opinions, Sylvia's guidance, Sylvia's cooking, Sylvia's humor, Sylvia's generosity. (But she always hid the walnuts for strudel as if they were gold.) There was laughter as much as tears.
"May this monument serve as a reminder of what is most enduring, the immortality of the soul, memories that never fade, Love that remains alive..."
Sylvia's great-grandchildren, our Bob and his cousin, little Emma, removed the covering from the headstone with help from Jeff and Debbie.
"May her soul be bound up in the bond of eternal life. Amen"
The Kaddish, the mourners prayer, was recited in Hebrew.
In keeping with tradition, we each a found a little stone to leave by the headstone as a token of our presence. Bob left three stones. I left a tiny shell.
Sylvia was remembered well.