Yesterday I prepared for Dad's first yahrzeit by baking the onion cookies and lighting the yahrzeit candle that burns for 24 hours.
This morning I got up early to attend morning minyan. A few friends joined the regulars so that we'd have a minimum of 10 Jews in order to say kaddish. And there were two other people with yahrzeits today.
When we got to the point in the service where we recite El Maleh Rachamim (God full of compassion), I decided to chant the prayer myself. It was a somewhat surreal moment. I was holding the very large and heavy sefer Torah, following each word in the prayer book with my finger so that I was sure to pronounce it correctly, and trying not to be so emotionally overwhelmed that it interfered with my ability to chant.
I shared that my dad loved being a Cohen and that he loved to potchkey around in the kitchen. Hence the onion cookies.
After the service ended, we ate onion cookies spread with butter or cream cheese, some coffee or orange juice, and toasted my dad.
The yahrzeit candle is still burning....