There is only one success--to be able to spend your life in your own way.-Christopher Morley
My Father's Yartzeit
Posted February 14, 2010
Thereís a yartzeit candle burning in a glass jar, sitting on top of our kitchen counter. Its little flame flickers about and dances on a small pool of melted wax in the center of the jar. In the dark, the candle casts quickly fleeting shadows, as I stare at it sadly, wishing there was no need for it to be there. It really shouldnít have been needed at all, but unfortunately Iím reminded thatís not how life works.
The candle is in memory of my father zĒl, who passed away twelve years ago today, according to the Hebrew calendar. Although itís been more than a decade, there has been a certain joy in my life that is gone, and an empty space that cannot be completely filled. Although Iím extremely fortunate to live an excellent life, since his passing, there has not been a single day during which I have not thought of my father. Most often, itís more than once a day.
At the age of 44, Iím supposed to have all the answers to lifeís questions, or at least thatís what is expected from a middle aged man, like me, married with children, running a complex company. The truth is different. Itís a real eye-opener just how many times every day Iím forced to admit that I have doubts about the many questions I face. Where do I really want to live, which school my children should attend, how much more to work to produce each incremental business gain, what to do about philanthropy, how to be most helpful to family members, and the list goes on and on. I really donít have all the answers I wish I had.
When my father was alive, I could just ask him. He always seemed to have answers for me. Some absolute, some not. But at the very least he knew to point me in the right direction, and it was very comforting to have his advice. I could always count on him to have my best interests at heart, with no reservations. And as a Harvard-educated attorney, my father was one of the smartest people I've ever met.
So now when I face difficult decisions, I often wonder what my father would say, what he would do in that particular situation. When it comes to pure business, I rely more on my own judgment, but when it comes to issues of the impact my actions would have on people, I search for my fatherís point of view. He excelled at showing amazing kindness to a degree that was so selfless, that I am still amazed at the extent of it.
His passing was an unimaginable loss to my family, and he is sorely missed, not just on his yartzeit, but every day.
One of the things about my dad, though, is that I'm certain that he would never want to be a source of sadness to his family. I know that he would want us to remember the good times with him and how much he loves us and we love him. He would wave his hand dismissively and tell us to be as happy as we can and enjoy the the time we have with our families.
When the time comes, I want my family to know that I feel the same way. No sadness, please. Count your blessings and celebrate life.
About Double Triangle
Double Triangle is my personal blog and is mostly about family life in the Los Angeles area. It also serves to record some of my thoughts in a format that can be easily accessed by my family and friends, as well as by anyone else who cares to read it.
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