Erin: This is the final daily podcast recording of “Kaddish” for the yearlong “kaddish in two-part harmony” project that Mira and I began a full lunar year ago, on 7 November 2010.
The “kaddish in two-part harmony” project is not entirely over, and it will probably never be completely finished—not as long as people we love keep dying—but the daily ritual of our yearlong collaboration is now over. We have reached our Yahrtzeit, and now it is time to return to the life of the living, to new beginnings—as Mira says in today’s text.
What a long, difficult, transformative, rewarding year it has been, for both of us. We both have a lot more to say about the year that we have shared together, but now it is late, and I am exhausted after a long Thanksgiving weekend including my parents’ visit and tonight’s catching up on almost a month’s backlog of daily Kaddishim, so for now I will keep it brief.
We agreed that I would play first, and then Mira would record her track over mine. We should have expected Kjersti to play her part, as she so often has in these daily recordings, contributing the percussion of her collar and a favorite squeaky fox toy, but somehow it came as an amusing surprise to both of us. She accompanied Mira live. Kjersten was quiet during my part, but I could have used her help. I was choking up during my part. By the time I finished, the lump in my throat had made it nearly impossible to play, and after I stopped the recording and did a Save, I turned to Mira with tears rolling down my cheeks. My tears continued to roll as Mira read, even as Kjersti was cracking me up by her timely, perfect addition of life-goes-on goofiness.
And then we did what clearly we had to do—we went out to dinner to celebrate, and we remembered our dead as we celebrated the transformation that this project has worked on both of us.
Thank you, Mira. It’s been a privilege and an honor to collaborate with you.
Mira: Thank you, readers and listeners. As we said in our paper at the anthropology conference—which we will include here soon—we joined together in a ritual experiment out of nothing more and nothing less than the particular grief of our own losses, but you joined us here; you welcomed us into your own experiences of loss; you grieved with us and allowed us to join with you in your grieving. And by your presence and time here with us in Beit Malkhut, in the “kaddish in two-part harmony,” you have made this its own kind of sacred space.
And now, a new chapter begins—
שֶׁהֶחֱיָנוּ וְקִיְּמָנוּ וְהִגִּיעָנוּ לַזְּמַן הַזֶּה׃