This is the exquisite poem that Laura Little wrote and presented at the memorial service last week for her mother, our beloved community member Judy Young z”l.


There is a hole near the center of this web I call my life
So near that sometimes I cannot see it
And before I think, I want to tell you
About the raven feather I found on a hike.

And I cannot. You are no longer contained
in a body with a phone that has a number I can call
So you know what you know and the rest…
the rest is up to me now.

And to fill this hole where you were will take years.
It will take a life well lived and a thousand thousand memories of you,
in joy and sorrow and wind and firelight.
It will take more courage than I have.

It will take each of you, here, today,
telling the people you love just how much you love them.
It will take your gardens blooming with all the colors of the rainbow.
It will take unthinkable acts of kindness
in the moments you least expect them, to strangers, and family, and friends.

It will take all the breath in my body
and all the words in my mouth
and it will take sharing them with you.

Or perhaps there is no gap, no empty place, no hole….
perhaps you have simply stepped aside
and now I see the world itself was always standing with you.

In that case, the smallest flower and the brightest star would each
remind me of you even as they made me smile
with the joy that wells up at the sheer improbability
that a flower or a star should exist, let alone that I should exist to see them.

And I think I begin to understand that both are true.
There is a hole; there is not a hole.
You are here; you are not.
Maybe quantum physics isn’t so impossible to understand
if I can I understand that.

For as long as I live, I will miss you.
For as long as I live, thinking of you will make me smile and, sometimes, ask myself
the kind of questions I need to ask.
The kind of questions that always came to mind
when I saw the amazing, deliberate way you chose to live.

Are you happy?
Did you remember to hug the people you love today?
Have you drunk enough water?
Can you be the person you want to spend the rest of your life with?
What are your dreams?
Will you remember to laugh and sing and love, and to just be?

To those questions, my only answer is
that I will keep asking them, of myself and of the people I love
and remember how beautiful you were in asking,
and that your answers touched the sky.