My Dad loved baseball games. At the ballpark, we would sit together, eating our peanuts, discussing each nuance of possibility. “Baseball is like poetry,” Dad would say, where innings become rhythms of pace and pause. Father and son, side by side, the diamond before us.

Dad would relish his one beer, after which a touch of foam inevitably appeared on his mustache. This always made me smile. Dad seemed to know everything before it happened: “Get ready for the hitKaddish is something of a marathon and run!” or “Time to bring in the southpaw!” He rejected sitting too close to the field: “Higher seats give you better perspective, John.” Dad was a kid again, all smiles, excited, revved up. How I loved being with him at those games.

Kaddish. Kaddish is what one says when a parent passes. It is the Torah way. Saying the Kaddish prayer, like doing any mitzvah here in our physical world where the deceased no longer can, has the extraordinary ability to lift the soul of the deceased higher and higher. As such, the experience of Kaddish is transcendent, a connection to G‑d, and for me, a connection to my dear father, Mordechai Ber Guterson, who breathed his last on Friday night, Oct. 4, 2013.

Kaddish is also something of a marathon: three times a day at shul for 11 straight months, leading the prayers, praying loud enough so that all can hear and follow. It takes breath, consistency, endurance, resilience. It takes a fastidious rearranging of work schedules and vacations. It takes honor and love.

And if you’re late to shul, by chance, then you’ve missed that moment to say Kaddish. Opportunity lost. I confess to some restless nights, fearful that I would oversleep. For obsessives, a perfect set-up.

Dad, I will not let you down. You and Mom brought me into this physical world; you raised me, made me who I am. I’ll be there.

And Dad, you lovingly wrote to me years ago that although you considered yourself to be a “non-believer,” you were at peace knowing that I would be your Kaddish. You wrote: “It’s always good to have an ace in the hole.” I embraced those words, Dad, like a soldier.

And so it was not by accident that at the end of my 11 months of Kaddish that I went to a baseball game. Celebrate my Dad. Pirates vs. Cardinals. My 10-year-old son and my son-in-law joined me, their presence as buffers for my emotions.

To say Kaddish one needs a minyan, a quorum of 10 men. In the Torah world, we are not alone. Needing nine Jewish men to join me, Rabbi Silverman came to the rescue, as he had already organized a “Jewish college students night at the ballpark” for that very game.

Now, I can’t tell you the names of any of those college students who left their seats in the bottom of the first inning. I knew none of those young men who spared 15 minutes to stand near a 60-year-old, white-bearded son as he paid homage to his deceased father. But there they were—some knew Hebrew, some did not, but that didn’t matter. Simply being there was the key, the power of 10 Jews together.

For without all 10 of us, whether theySimply being there was the key understood fully or not, I would not have been able to say that last Kaddish, the culmination of 11 consistent months, of 990 minyans, of never missing once. And so, as the crowd roared in the background, those nine guys meant everything to me.

As I walked back to my seat, I realized how much my Dad would have loved the whole scene. I could feel him there with me, smiling, thanking me, loving me and then urging me to get back to my seat soon, not to miss another pitch. Tears welled up inside me as I took that walk, another goodbye to my father.

As I approached my seat, there was a 10-year-old boy, wrapped up in the moment, the thrill of a ballgame, pistachios in hand.

He looked up at me with a big smile on his face, and said: “Hi, Dad!”