(The Kaddish is the mourning prayer spoken at the end of services by those who have lost a loved one. The prayer is in Hebrew. This poem is one person's feelings just before she says the prayer.)
New beginnings bring to mind
old and recent endings.
I owe much to the past
and to those who embodied it.
Parents and grandparents,
children and siblings,
teachers and shapers,
friends and loved ones--
all these, living and dead,
add their touch to the person I have become.
To the living, I turn in gratitude and love,
extending my arms in friendship,
offering them renewed love.
To the dead, I turn in memory,
affirming their lives with the fullness of my own.
In the midst of doubt and hope,
at once alone and in community,
I seek the courage to bear
the fearsome burden of the Unknown
with dignity and grace.
In honor of those who went before me,
I rise to affirm the eternal cycle of
birth and death with this Kaddish.
I don't know who the author of this beautiful poem is. The poem was shared with my widows' group by our wonderful leader, Gayle Kamen Weinstein. Not sure where she found it, but it touched all our hearts.