Some thoughts on entering into my 11th month of saying Kaddish…..
First off, I wanted to thank a couple good friends who have been my so-called “gurus” during these past several months.  Mendel Tress and Heshy Wengrow have helped answer my many halachic questions that have come about, which I could not find answers to in Lamm’s “The Jewish Way in Death and Mourning” ( which has been my guidebook along the way ).
I have been looking forward to May 17 all year.  It’s been circled on my calendar since last June and I thought the day would never come.  Its the day I will stop saying Kaddish for my mother.  Mind you, its not the 10 second prayer that bothers me.  But making it to shul three times a day, dashing from meetings and airports ( especially in obscure cities I have traveled ) has been a challenge to say the least.
Yet, notwithstanding the red circle on my calendar, I don’t want it to end.  I am dreading May 17.  It’s almost like losing my mother all over again.  The last time I davened and didn’t have to say Kaddish, she was alive.  Kaddish is my last direct link to her. Three times a day for the last soon to be 11 months, I have been forced to focus on her absence and my loss. 
I think its going to be hard to stop saying Kaddish.  For through the saying of Kaddish day by day I created a deeper relationship with my mother, even after her death.  Because as I stand, close my eyes, and repeat the words of Kaddish, my mind often wanders and remembers wonderful events with her in my life.
I’m in the tenth month and I don’t want the eleventh month to come.  I simply don’t want to let go of these moments of togetherness that the saying of Kaddish has tied between my mother and me.
So much of being an aveilut involves restriction, if observed traditionally.  You are conscious of all the things you cannot do:  No live music. No parties or theater. No ball games ( that’s been the toughest for me ! ).  Saying Kaddish, however, is something you can do and it has been a means of connection to my mother.  Soon that connection will be lost and I will have to find other ways to maintain a sense of connection to her.
In my first entry I spoke about the incredible paradox of running from the shiva of my mother to Israel for the birth of my first grandchild, Erez.   I now have another wonderful simcha arriving next week with the wedding of my son Yoni, to his beautiful and wonderful bride-to-be, Danielle.   My mother loved Dani dearly and I will be surely thinking of her while watching Yoni and Dani under the chuppah next week.