Good Yom Tov, For those of you that I may have insulted or offended in this past year, I ask for your forgiveness.

Have you ever imagined you would be lying in the middle of the road, unconscious with no recollection of how you got there? It’s a natural human feeling to feel invincible, to feel that it could never happen to me. Last Sunday, as most of you know, I fell off my bike during an early morning ride. Maybe it is time to get the training wheels back out. I came back to consciousness with this strange women, whom I later found out is a physician on a walk, staring me in the face asking me all these personal and probing questions. What is your name? How old are you? What is today? What is the month? Who is the President? I knew my name and age but not much more. When I told her Bush was the president, it was a quick decision to call the ambulance. Fortunately, I have recovered my mental capacity although some of you may argue that point.

Why do I tell you this story? It is Yom Kippur, and riding bikes has nothing to do with the underlying message of today. I am not looking for atonement for putting my family through the agony of dealing with my injury, although I do acknowledge how loving, supportive and helpful they have been. I had the theme for my talk today weeks ago, but lacked an opening. Was it G-d helping me out to see there is a deeper meaning? A meaning that has special significance today as we prepare for Yitzkor. Translated, Yitzkor means “Remember”. Soon, we will ask G-d to remember the souls of our relatives and special friends that have passed on. Our recitation of the Yitzkor prayer makes that eternal connection between ourselves and our loved one. Like reciting Kaddish during the period of mourning, the recitation of Yitzkor brings dignity to their souls and elevates them higher and higher in their eternal homes.

Each and every one of us do not know when our time will come and when the time of those we love will come. We must live our lives and do the things today as if perhaps, it may be our last. “Why Wait”, a popular theme in many advertisements implores us to try it now, buy it now, take the plunge. 10 million did not wait and bought the new iPhone 6 on the first weekend it was available. So why do we choose to wait to do the things that may be difficult, but have special significance in our lives?

Brothers do not speak for years because of some family spat. Why wait to make up and no longer miss out on the pleasures of each other’s company. A child calls a parent on birthdays and anniversaries. Why wait for these days rather than make calls and visits a special part of their weekly or more frequent ritual. You have an argument with a friend and are longer speaking. Why wait to make up? We can always find a reason to not do the things that matter the most, but that impulse purchase of the latest high tech gadget happens with no thought. Material possessions can make us happy short term, but what about the longer term, what about the eternal happiness.

Live your life as if today may be that last day. Maintain your relationship with others as if you may never see them again. Turn your focus from the daily and weekly mundane of work and school and find something that makes you happy. Hopefully we all find some fulfillment and satisfaction in our jobs and our professions. Make time for yourself. Find that special activity that makes you happy. When you can reach this point, then you may find it easier to make the time for those you love. Take advantage of the time you have, for one day the time will be no more.

Remember, life is short and there is no time like the present. Find the time to tell someone you love them and how special they are to you. If you have offended someone in the past there is no time like now to apologize. Especially today, start the year off with a clean slate. Don’t miss this opportunity.

Three years ago my father’s health had deteriorated to the point where my mother called to tell me I need to come visit. Atlanta was too far for a weekend drive, so it typically meant getting on a plane. I found all types of excuses to not visit on a regular basis when he was healthy. I had plans, the tickets were too expensive, I needed to be here in Dallas for the kids. After his stroke, my visits increased, but not often enough. I received this call on a Thursday and thought I should wait until the next weekend to visit. Jill and I discussed and reflected on a story told during a sermon by Rabbi Glickman just a few months earlier during Yom Kippur. It was about an opportunity missed to recite the Viddui prayer, the final confessions before death with a congregant because there was no time that day. The next day was too late, the congregant passed away. We decided I needed to go the next day and not wait until the next week. I continue to be thankful as I was able to speak to my father in a conscious state on Saturday and Sunday before he drifted into a state of unconsciousness Sunday night. He died holding my hand Monday night. I had the opportunity to tell him I loved him as he left this world. Why wait? Do today what you may not be able to do tomorrow.

Life is short. Life is unknown. Don’t wait. Live today to build those special moments, those special memories that will never die. Long after losing a love one, you will remember those special times together. Special activities together, that special food you always looked forward to, the special story you heard a hundred times that never got too old, the couch with the plastic cover, visits, ice cream sodas, the entrance made in the house every evening as your father or mother came home. These are memories that last forever. Memories that will never be replaced.

We all cherish those special times with our mothers, our fathers, our grandparents, our siblings and others that we have been close to. After someone dies, we say “May their memory be for a blessing”. What a special phrase. We are saying to the mourner, the survivor, the memory you have of your loved one turns into a blessing for you and for their soul. The memories of the life our loved ones lived are a blessing.

As we pause a few moments before Yitzkor to allow those who’s custom is not to stay leave quietly, reflect on those special memories.