some people wait a year after their loved one dies to say yizkor, others say it on the first holdiay yizkor is said and thereafter. i decided to start saying yizkor on the first holiday yizkor can be said. there was so much postponement with my father's death (as in the shivah ) that i decided that i would start saying yizkor as soon as it was possible. i must say its a weird experience. i have always looked forward to the yizkor service on the shalosh regalim and especially on yom kippur because it was an opportunity to have a break during davening. oh well.. no more. now i get to participate in the yizkor service.
at first it was hard for me to understand why it is that a child mourns a parent for a year, but a parent who loses a child only mourns a month. now i understand. a parent is supposed to pass on before a child . even though it is hard to process it is not as difficult as a parent losing a child . this is not the way of nature. if a parent had to be in avelus for a whole year after losing a child they may not be able to take it.
a spouse only mourns a lost spouse for a month. this isn't because they should remarry. someone could remarry even if they are in avelus. i think that the real reason is because a spouse is a peer.( same as a sibling who one mourns only one month) also if they were required to have all of the restrictions of avelus for a whole year it could be fatal.
the only time one is required to do a whole year for avelus is for a parent because this is the natural order of life. even though it can be extremely painful to lose a parent, no matter what one's relationship was with them was, a child can take the year of restrictions because it is more for honoring ones parent than for one to be in a state of depression for a year. a child is able to do this whereas a sibling, spouse or parent cannot.
yizkor means to remember. to remember the deceased is not to remember how they died but to remember how they lived even though we wish it were longer.