Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Bedside Tehillim (Psalms)

From the book of Psalms 
(יב through) לח:ד

"There is no soundness in my flesh because of Your wrath, no peace in my bones because of my sin. For my iniquities have inundated me; like a heavy load they are burdensome beyond me. Putrid and rotted are my sores because of my folly. I am bent and bowed exceedingly, all day long in bleakness I go about. For my loins are full of a loathsome affliction and there is no soundness in my flesh. I am faint and crushed exceedingly. I roar from the groaning of my heart. My Lord, before you is all my yearning, my sighing is not concealed from you. My heart is engulfed, my strength has forsaken me; and the light of my eyes, they, too are no longer with me. My friends and companions stand aloof from my affliction, and my close ones stand at a distance.

...continuing with (38:18)...לח:יח
For I am prone to crippling pain, and my ache is always before me.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

These verses caught my eyes as I was reading the Tehillim by my friend's bedside today in the ICU of Soroka. You can see why these particular verses gave me pause. I was once in that position, and my skin was indeed dead and afflicted. My youngest child was 1, the oldest a mere 8.

There I was, sitting (or standing) beside her, looking at her, holding her hand. She, on a respirator, anesthetized, in a deep sleep. I read Tehillim (psalms), in English this time, so the meaning can sink in on a deeper level. It sure did. I felt deeply that I was beseeching God to save her from more cancer. She's younger than me, her daughter 5 years old.

Just a few short weeks back I was reciting the same tehillim for my other friend who passed away last week.

It's tremendously heavy to be in the ICU watching my friend breathe, her lungs expanding and contracting with the clicks and beeps of the respirator. I actually remember those sounds; they are embedded into deep recesses of my soul. It is all very familiar. Freaked me out a bit, but I just kept praying, saying the psalms, there by her side. I was in trauma-land, and Soroka land, and surgeon land. A very hard place for me to be, personally, but I felt I needed to be there with her. I stayed for a few hours until my Tehillim reading was finished. It took me a long time because of breaks to talk to nurses and doctors about her, and because I was really, deeply connecting with the poetic, but sometimes incomprehensible words and meanings of the text. I did what people had done at my bedside 8 years ago. It awakened my PTSD, but I am stronger now, and I can give without being sucked into the vortex. Hovering around the trauma vortex, however, is not where I want to be. I have to be careful not to fall in, to be too drawn in to her story.

Changing the channel abruptly, the rest of the day was spent at the science museum for children. With me was Azriel, his friend, my friend-in-the-hospital's five year old daughter, and the woman who is temporarily taking care of her. The kids learned, played, laughed. The older ones watched out for the little one. We talked a lot. While we were lazing on the thick, plush grass of the science museum's campus, the woman taking care of our friend's daughter texting with the surgeon, and our friend's brother overseas. Yes, it is the same surgeon. From his texts he seems confident that our friend will get through this, and her situation is not so precarious. I'm not comforted by his confidence.

Walked a lot, talked a lot, prayed a lot.

Tomorrow morning is the neurology clinic at Soroka to take care of the Cannabis paperwork, then I have decided I am going off to the beach. Alone. I need the ocean, and I need time and space to grieve losing two friends a few weeks ago, and to organize my feelings about my other friend's situation. It's been heavy, and I feel a dark cloud hanging over me wherever I turn. Being at the sunny Mediterranean ocean will give me exactly what I need. It always does.

Me & God, we meet there. We always have.


  1. good for you! it should be healing.

  2. So want to give you hugs. Pick up an extra few grains of sand for me, my dear friend. Enjoy the sparkling waves. Be at peace.

  3. I can't even begin to imagine the weight in your heart Sarah. I'm so sorry youi have to be relieving such darkness and despair.
    May you be blessed as you meet H'S at every step you take.

  4. May you find some healing as you try to absorb the frailty of life and the finality of death.