Yom Kippur: Memory, Love, Stones

Last night at Kol Nidre services, the eve of Yom Kippur, I sat next to a woman who was the pianist at services for many years.  She turned to me when I sat down.  “Hello, Grace, I’m Justine.”  I told her I knew her and was glad to see her again.  At the end of the service the Rabbi asked that we leave quietly, as the Yom Kippur service doesn’t officially end, but extends for 24 hours, with breaks for sleeping and resting.  Justine turned to me and said, “I know I’m not supposed to talk, but I just wanted to tell you how much I miss Eric, what a special man he was.  I wish I’d known him better.”  This is the seventh Yom Kippur since Eric died.

After my D’var Torah during Rosh Hashanah last week, a member of the Temple told me she’d gone to the Temple’s section of Blossom Hill Cemetery the day before.  Part of my D’var Torah talked about visiting Eric’s grave and leaving stones there.  He has a lot of rocks on his grave.  More than any other gravestone there.  “I had some young ones with me, and one boy wanted to know what the stones on the graves meant,” she told me.  “I explained that loved ones visit the graves and leave rocks as reminders of their visits.  Then he asked me how come some of the gravestones don’t have any rocks.  I explained the best I could, that maybe their family is far away, or gone.  Then the boy pointed to Eric’s grave and said, ‘Well look at all the rocks on that gravestone.  A lot of people must love him.'”


About Grace Mattern

Grace Mattern is a poet, writer, mother, grandmother, partner, friend, family member, gardener, triathlete, hiker and for 30 years was the Executive Director of the NH Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence. She resigned her position at the Coalition on June 15, 2011 in order to concentrate on her writing, while continuing to engage in the movement to end violence against women as a consultant and advisor. Her chapbook Fever of Unknown Origin was published in 2001 and her full-length poetry book The Truth About Death was published in 2012.
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One Response to Yom Kippur: Memory, Love, Stones

  1. Loved, indeed. Thank you for sharing this.

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