It’s been ten years and four deaths since I first said the Kaddish for my father. Too many people to glorify and honor and extoll while pretending that God is on the receiving end of such lavish praise.
My Kaddish has been stretched thin.
My Kaddish is tattered like the yellowed lace doilies my grandmother crocheted. Doilies made of scarred, arthritic time. Adrienne Rich, who died on March 28, 2012 at the age of 82, composed her tattered Kaddish to the doilie makers of this world, to the ones who wished away earth-bound time to die sooner, to the ones who waited for death in dark agony and rain.
Blessed and sanctified are the ones we loved, the ones we thought we loved, the ones we thought loved us and the ones we were supposed to love. Praise to life. Praise to death. Praise to the poet who will forever inspire.
Taurean reaper of the wild apple field
messenger from earthmire gleaning
transcripts of fog
in the nineteenth year and the eleventh month
speak your tattered Kaddish for all suicides:
Praise to life though it crumbled in like a tunnel
on ones we knew and loved
Praise to life though its windows blew shut
on the breathing-room of ones we knew and loved
Praise to life though ones we knew and loved
loved it badly, too well, and not enough
Praise to life though it tightened like a knot
on the hearts of ones we thought we knew loved us
Praise to life giving room and reason
to ones we knew and loved who felt unpraisable
Praise to them, how they loved it, when they could.
–Adrienne Rich. An Atlas of The Difficult World. 1991.