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My Grandfather. It's been a year since he passed away.
Last year I walked through his Garden [This is the one link that is important to click on to understand the post -hakosev] - a place he tended with love. The weeds were plucked back, the flowers blooming golden and aflame. Ripe tomatoes and fresh basil grew in the flower beds. Apples, the first of the season, hung ripe on the tree.
I wrote a eulogy and made a salad from what I picked.
I went shopping for clothes. Dating clothes.
I blinked and turned, and Elul - the month of preparation for the New Year was gone.
And so was he.
On the cusp of winter's frost.
The year ended as it had begun. I lift my eyes to the mountains. I finished Mishnayos . . . I wondered about him. I missed him . . . and I forgot him.
And then I returned. Late fall. A Montreal Garden on Autmn's eve. Now everything was golden and aflame. The leaves on the trees and the sun in the clouds. Everything except for his flowers, that he tended with his hands. They were brown. I spoke in riddles - he says, she says. Do they say? . . . No.
And he was gone. Very gone.
Hope Springs eternal
Winter came and went.
The mind numbs, the earth is cold.
I know it is cold, for I call my grandmother and she tells me that my grandfather is cold. So cold in the earth.
I don't want to think about it. So I don't.
My friends fly the coop. I dance. I cry.
So the spring has come. I get drunk. Why not? It's Purim besides - tomorrow will be special. Mazel Tov. I get engaged. And I miss him. His son and nephew sit by my side. It seems odd. He was supposed to sit by my side. But I'm happy. So I don't think . . .
I go about Pesach preparations. I fly to Uman to make a Seder.
I return. I wonder what he would have said.
You feel older when you're engaged. So I write riddles.
It's stressful. I go to London for another friend's wedding.
Those traveling days have come to an end.
I come back.
I get married. And oh is he gone. There's an empty spot in the dancing. A place that he should be dancing.
Oh, I know how it would be differently.
He would sit there grinning from ear to ear - some Bochur's hat probably sitting in his head. He'd tell me that he doesn't like to dance . . . well, not with men at least. But then we'd dance. I feel the void. But in the void, he is there.
Yet he's alive. I see it in my grandmothers rejuvenation. He's sitting off in the distance and smiling ear to ear. Saying that he doesn't dance . . . well, not with men at least.
They're all there. Like ghosts of past watching the present they planted in their garden bloom.
And I'm back where I started. In the golden waning days of summmer, as they lazily slip into Autumn.
And on a humid day, I stand once again with my cousins and my uncle, my grandmother and mother . . . and now with a wife.
No one knows how to react to the stone in front of us. The sun shines brightly, the wind is still.
Avraham Ber ben Mordechai Dorfman
He's next to a Chaim Ber Shapiro, and across from an Avraham Dov. Surrounded by bears.
My grandmother bends over the stone as she places a few stones on the headstone.
"He's not there." She says, unsure if she's speaking to me or herself. "His neshama [soul] left. Now all that lies there is the guf [body]."
We return home, and I don't know what to do.
So I take out my camera and walk again in his garden.
And in the brown earth of the flower bed that once blossomed with golden fire, that was filled with ripe vegetables, something remained.
Cut back and small, bloomed six patches of flowers, two tomato plants, and a pot of basil.
So I picked a tomato and some basil . . . and once more made a salad with some salt, olive oil and feta
And so it is. The garden was still alive. And so was he.
טרערן, הייסע טרערן.
איך בענק נאך דיר זיידע
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