Thirty years is a lifetime.  A generation.  I can’t say whether I still think of him and of the loss every single day.  But it’s close to that.  This year somehow feels harder than many, but I might say that every year.  But the anti-semitic murders at the Pittsburgh synagogue, among other things, seem to be intensifying the pain (a conservative shul, and a connection to HIAS).

I’ve marked this date on this blog many times, but I don’t think I’ve ever really written about the day itself on here (although I have for myself).  I don’t know that I will.  But this year, 30 years to the day later, I remember one thing very powerfully.  Like in Auden’s “Musée des Beaux-Arts,” I’m often struck by the every-dayness of things. How a whole universe goes on indifferent to moments of tragedy or destruction (or joy).

30 years ago today I was in the midst of an argument about nothing.  About washing dishes and whose turn it was to do that.  And that’s when the call came and I couldn’t even understand what was being said.  And when I did understand I made a sound that I had never made before and hope to never make again.  And how things like a softly falling snow, or a chalkboard with a taco special, or a feather sticking out of a down jacket, or a rental car, things that are so ordinary and common and ongoing are now forever etched.

Musee des Beaux Arts

W. H. Auden

About suffering they were never wrong,
The old Masters: how well they understood
Its human position: how it takes place
While someone else is eating or opening a window or just walking dully along;
How, when the aged are reverently, passionately waiting
For the miraculous birth, there always must be
Children who did not specially want it to happen, skating
On a pond at the edge of the wood:
They never forgot
That even the dreadful martyrdom must run its course
Anyhow in a corner, some untidy spot
Where the dogs go on with their doggy life and the torturer’s horse
Scratches its innocent behind on a tree.

In Breughel’s Icarus, for instance: how everything turns away
Quite leisurely from the disaster; the ploughman may
Have heard the splash, the forsaken cry,
But for him it was not an important failure; the sun shone
As it had to on the white legs disappearing into the green
Water, and the expensive delicate ship that must have seen
Something amazing, a boy falling out of the sky,
Had somewhere to get to and sailed calmly on.


R.I.P. Scott Daniel Ugoretz.

February 24, 1964-October 28, 1988