Two women named Dorothy, born 6 months apart, died the same day at age 95. Their obituaries side by side in the daily paper. But Dorothy #1’s obit was just three short sentences; where she died, who handled the burial arrangements, that she’s survived by a cousin in Washington, DC.
Dorothy #2’s obit ran for over a full column. She was the matriarch of a huge family – lots of children, swarms of grandchildren and great-grands, and even a couple of great-great-grandchildren. She was loved and cherished, and her obit was filled with the joy of a life well lived.
In the weeks since I read the two obituaries, I have often wondered about the first Dorothy. Did she have a family and outlive everyone? Was she happy? Was she loved? What happened over the course of 95 years? Surely, there’s more to her story.
As we enter the Yamim Norim, the Days of Awe, we take stock of our own lives, and during the course of the High Holidays we recite Yizkor – literally, Memory.
May we remember to live our own lives fully, and remember those who have gone before us… especially those who have no one left to remember them.