The Pandemic Yizkor

Carol Skolnick

About Carol Skolnick

Carol L. Skolnick is an author, poet, editor, beachcomber and dilettante living in Santa Cruz, CA.

About The Pandemic Yizkor

We already have experienced a shmita year, the year of the pandemic. During this time, our lives (well, those of us who were not learning how to bake exotic cakes, write novels or use a Peloton bike) were made smaller and more contemplative. My hope for 5782, as we emerge from quarantine, is that we remember the lessons of sheltering in place: of being less productive, perhaps, but more in tune with our true nature. May our reimagined values transform the way we interact with each other in our relationships, our politics, our neighbors, our communities and our planet.

The Pandemic Yizkor

This is the yahrzeit of the Life we lived before.

This is the anniversary of the time we first sat at home, praying in our fashion,
every day.

This is the stealth yahrzeit that brings anger, impatience, fatigue, tears that burn and stain.

It is the anniversary remembered like a death: not by the day on the calendar but by our
hearts and our cells.

This is the yahrzeit of the time we didn’t hesitate before a handshake, of the days we took
seeing faces for granted.

This is the yahrzeit of the funerals we couldn’t attend, of the new babies we couldn’t hold…

Of the birthdays and weddings and b’nai mitzvot we could not celebrate with hugs and
kisses, holding hands as we danced.

It is the yahrzeit of hip-hop recitals, summer camp, Little League, Graduation Day.

It is in memory of date night, of romantic getaways, and of naked afternoons while the
kids were at Grandma’s.

It is the yahrzeit of the retirement party not held, the trip of a lifetime not taken,

Of our steady employment, of keeping the apartment, of making the mortgage, of not
fearing the proximity of our co-workers.

It is the yahrzeit of going to the office, of shopping in stores, of handling objects without
thinking and petting other peoples’ pups with abandon.

It is the anniversary of the time we believed we might be alone forever, that loneliness
would kill us before a virus ever got the chance.

It is the yahrzeit of the goodbyes we didn’t whisper in unhearing ears, respects not fully
paid, the bodily comfort we could neither give nor receive while we rocked, and wept,
and wailed.

This is the time of Yizkor for the Life we lived before:

Let us light a candle for that Life.

May our grief for that Life be light.

May the memory of that Life be for a blessing.

Let us praise and sanctify this Life, and that Life, and let us say: Amen.