Since July 1, I have prayed every service with a minyan for 129 days. That's 129 shacharits, 129 minchas, 129 arvits, plus 33 musaf and 1 ne'ilah makes 421 services.
My first goal was to not miss any services until the change from Daylight Saving Time, when sunset becomes too early for me to make it to mincha without missing work. I've tried to locate a mincha minyan near my office but, alas, I no longer work in Kendall Square.
So this afternoon, I davened mincha by myself. And I will learn a mishna in my father's memory in lieu of the kaddish that I would have said if I had been with a minyan.
Kaddish isn't a magic incantation, but an affirmation of my faith even in the face of unimaginable loss. I'm not upset about having to miss kaddish this afternoon; I know it's ok. But I am sad that the time has come to move into the next phase of this year of mourning, even though I knew that it would and that it's time to take that next step on this path.
I recall when my father was saying kaddish for his father. I was seven. Dad would stand in the corner of the kitchen, reading the kaddish from the siddur, by himself, because he couldn't make it to minyan but he felt the need to express his mourning in this way.
At this moment of inflection and reflection, I want to publicly recognize the amazing lengths that my wife and children have gone to to make it possible for me to have made it this far. I could not have made it 129 days without them. And though I'm no longer going to be able to make mincha with a minyan every day, I will continue, with their support and help, and with ezrat Hashem, to try to make shacharit and arvit (and mincha, when I can) for the 195 days that still lie ahead.