My bubbie’s weekly evening pinochle game with the other alta kakkers are gently noisy gatherings, full of the nostalgia for that “little village outside Kiev” and current gossip among her women friends, and the occasional single man, who join her to sip a “glass tea,” savor another spoonful of jam, enjoy just one more sugar cookie while playing cards well past their usual bedtime. One by one, they descend the stairs, murmuring reluctant goodbyes as they head toward home, renewed and lightened by the connected joy.
That laughter and soft conversation, that innocent joy that filled up my grandmother’s comfortable kitchen, on the second floor of her duplex, are no more. She outlived all her friends. She provided each of her women friends with their Tahara, the prescribed Orthodox ritual of washing and dressing the body for burial.
Dressed in her signature dark head scarf, black overcoat, and sturdy black Oxford shoes, her body seems a slow-moving, curved obelisk bent, perhaps, from the weight of another day entering the Chevra Kadisha building to fulfill the greatest of mitzvahs, one the deceased can never repay.
Diana Rosen is a flash writer, essayist, and poet with credits in Tiferet Journal, Rattle, The Reform Jewish Quarterly, The Jewish Writing Project, and previous contributions to Jewish Literary Journal. She lives and works in Los Angeles as a content provider for food and beverage websites where she enjoys her 4,000-acre “backyard,” Griffith Park. To read more of her work, please visit www.authory.com/dianarosen