Monday, October 18, 2010


I have a shirt in my closet that I hardly ever wear. It is yellow (I'm not into wearing yellow), and it has a caricature of a girl in a bubble bath, the caption reads "life is good". I wore it today, which you never could have anticipated, once you read about my night last night.

Last night, Saturday night, Robert & I decided to take a trip to Jerusalem to see our friend in the hospital... the one I wrote about who is getting sicker. We felt we just had to see her, and it was a very urgent feeling. We got a babysitter and left at about 7pm.

As we were parking in the hospital lot, I voiced my thoughts about wanting to also be in touch with our Rav, and his wife, and keep updated about his condition. Last time we wanted to visit him, he wasn't in the condition to see visitors. I was pretty sad about that, but I had to accept that his needs trump my wishes, and Hashem knows how it's supposed to be. I came to an acceptance with it.

Anyway, we parked and got to the oncology ward to my friend's room. Robert didn't recognize her. I did, but there had been such a drastic change in her appearance and demeanor, it was indeed startling. We walked in and she smiled. We hugged, then she told me that she loves my outfit. That's her. I love her.

We stayed for a good 3-4 hours, during which time the nurse came in to inform her that she has to change rooms. It was a big emotional deal for my friend... needing to urgently control her surroundings because her body no longer lets her control it. As we walked down the hallway to the new room, even though I know it is bad hospital etiquette, I caught a glimpse of someone familiar in another room. I back-tracked, my mind's file cabinets opening, looking for where this new information matches with what I have in there already. As I discreetly looked again, I was rewarded with catching eyes with the rebbetzin; our Rav's wife. She was sitting next to her husband, who had been hospitalized with a complication of his disease (pancreatic cancer). To me and Robert, this was a blessing sent from Gd, that we had the opportunity to spend time with him.

We were MIA for a little while from our friend's bedside while we were spending quality precious time with the rav. We got to hold his hands, give him our brachot, hear his voice, see his smile, spend time with his lovely, humble, easy-to-connect-with wife. It was tremendous.

Then back to our friend's room. Some stories about how and when we all met, how Robert was her husband's roommate when he was dolling himself up for his first real date with her.

Then her pain set in. Mine did, too... whether sympathetic, or from my long-ish trip, who can truly say. I am the one who can honestly physically feel labor contractions sometimes when I am with a birthing mother and we have a chemistry going. Anyway, she asked for her medicine... the one she uses when her strong narcotic pain patches don't totally work, and she experiences "break-through" pain. I got it from the nurse and my friend swallowed them down. Her pain persisted until the Percocets kicked in. I felt helpless until I did some guided imagery with her to breathe out the pain and breathe in light. I guided her to feel that she can put into her body everything it needs; light, oxygen, water, good food. And then she can breathe out all the toxins. We breathed together like that for a good quiet while. Robert was out of the room talking deeply with her husband-- they are close.

Her back still hurt. So, inspired by the time I had a friend visit me in the hospital and do reflexology on my feet, and how I loved that, I asked if she'd want a foot rub. Who would turn that down? So I did that. Then *my* pain kicked in stronger and I got fidgety sitting at the end of her bed trying to position myself well to massage her feet. I needed my medicine. Another Voltaren. (it doesn't seem to help as well as it used to... gotta ask about that.)

At 11:30, with my friend drifting off to a hopefully painless sleep, we hugged and said our goodbyes... however one can say goodbyes like that. I told her I love her always and forever. She said "me, too".

After Robert drank a cup of coffee, we arrived safely back home at around 2am. Woke the sitter, drove her home, and my husband & I went to different places in the house to be alone and process.

I woke at 1pm, just in time to get showered and pick up Shifra from school.
And I was drawn to put on that yellow shirt... "life is good". I felt good all day. I got to say goodbye.
"It's sad and it's sweet, and I knew it complete, when I wore a younger man's clothes"
(Billy Joel-- "Piano Man")

1 comment :

  1. Your description of your time together with your friend and your rav is beautiful.