Six years ago this week, my maternal grandmother died. She was a marvelous woman. You would have liked her. Even people who'd only ever met her once dementia had set in thought she was terrific. Tonight, I will say kaddish in her memory, and her name will be read out during the service, so that everyone there will remember her as well, even if they know nothing of her at all. Kaddish is a prayer in praise of God, and is a recurring prayer in a traditional Jewish service. It is recited in Aramaic, not Hebrew, because it was considered so important that it was at one time read in the common language, so that everyone would really understand it. Ironically, there are those who still speak Hebrew, but Aramaic? Not so much. Nevertheless, folks continue to recite it in Aramaic because there is comfort in the rhythms of the text. But I digress. Kaddish is not only said at transitional parts within a service; it is also said at one point by mourners and those remembering yahrzeits (anniversaries of deaths). The practice of naming the dead on or near their yahrzeit is one means of keeping them alive, the thought being that so long as memory lives, one lives on inside those left behind.
Remember me when I am gone away, Gone far away into the silent land; When you can no more hold me by the hand, Nor I half turn to go yet turning stay. Remember me when no more day by day You tell me of our future that you planned: Only remember me; you understand It will be late to counsel then or pray. Yet if you should forget me for a while And afterwards remember, do not grieve: For if the darkness and corruption leave A vestige of the thoughts that once I had, Better by far you should forget and smile Than that you should remember and be sad.