When We Disassemble A Home, a Yizkor Reflection

When we disassemble a home 

We open drawers and closets, cabinets and doors

We look to walls and shelves, pictures and books

We reach into pockets and purses, open books and folders

We take things down and look things up

We hold things we saw daily and examine that which went unnoticed

We find the usual and note the spectacular masquerading as ordinary 


When we disassemble a home

We reflect on history and ponder its what if’s

We shake with laughter one moment, and tears the next

We clasp the delights and push away the discomforts

We hear the voices, that make the soundtrack of photos

We taste meals made with those recipes, pots and utensils

We breathe the lingering scent of fragrance on the scarf or jacket


When we disassemble a home

We recall the teaching from those pages, books and plans

We feel the softness – or scratchiness – of a hug in that sweater

We see childhood holiday tables set with those cloths and dishes

We journey back to the last Thanksgiving or birthday

We hear the last laugh, argument and silence


When we disassemble a home 

We see people who lived there and those who passed through

We see Mom’s hand we held wearing that ring we just found

We see younger Dad drafted overseas in that uniform from the closet

We gasp at Grandpa’s cursive on the envelope that evokes eloquent missives sent to camp

We imagine younger Grandma chasing those autographs in the book

We see aunts, uncles carrying casseroles and platters in holiday entrances 

We recall brothers and sisters in endless competitions 

We see cousins at seder chasing the afikoman all over the house

We see teenage friends backing out the driveway or onto the lawn


When we disassemble a home

We remember item by item, moment by moment, person by person

We are knocked down by a torrent of remembrances too

When we sit at the kitchen table or on the couch of our lives,

When we open the garment bag and catch a glimpse of that tuxedo or wedding dress

When we discover what’s at the bottom of the drawer 

When we unearth documents in the folder of family history

When we uncover the box of toys that squeal with laughter 

When we find that tiny treasure labeled just for us

When we reach into a pocket and emerge with a dusty lifesaver and folded hankie


When we disassemble a home

We turn corners and walk in circles – 

We note exits and entrances long forgotten

We find that which we want – and that which we’d prefer to have missed

We fear losing memories and hold tight as we can

We think of people we assumed would remain at our side


Today we enter Yizkor to re-assemble our homes

We parse memories one by one…or perhaps in a rush

We return to objects and everyone they evoke

We look back to the past and its people 

We realize how those people made us who we are