Fires, Flames, Funerals, Finality…Future…

What a truly “bitter” month the Hebrew month of “Mar Cheshvan” was….Exactly 2 weeks ago, as I was preparing a Thanksgiving dinner…while fires were flaring in so many parts of our small country…I got a call with such sad news that my daughter who was due to give birth in a few weeks, felt no movement of the baby, flew to the clinic in her area where she was told that unfortunately there was no heart beat and that she would have to have a still birth…Many “angels” directed her toward Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital, experts and sensitive in this area; to someone who had started a support group after it happened to her 11 years ago, who dropped everything and came Thursday evening to meet with them and explain what to expect…I dropped everything, cancelled guests and went down to be with their 4 children while they were away for the 4 days. My husband brought down the Thanksgiving food that luckily I had prepared the day before for Shabbat. Their wonderful new community where they had just moved in the summer pitched in with help with children and meals for 2 weeks. I was comfortable being able to come and go to my various obligations as I knew that they had such a strong support system. In fact, I had gone back up to Jerusalem to participate in a panel at AACI on “Optimal Aging”(My topic was “Aging in Place”), leaving early the next morning to go back down South to help some more…

And then…another “blow”….my neighbor, good friend Fern, who had just turned 66 passed away after such a fast decline from a melanoma cancer that had spread so rapidly.  It was such a shock to our whole community as she had been the model of “health”…our exercise teacher, the sport teacher at the local high school, herself on a very healthy diet…Again feeling that I could leave my daughter and family in helpful hands, I flew back to Betel for the funeral and to help at the shiva house…

Having just returned again from my daughter’s home I am today again preparing a Thanksgiving Shabbat meal with my other children here…I feel that we must get together and appreciate each other as often as possible, live every day to the fullest and again to quote my friend, Fern, Z”l(May her memory be a blessing), ” Show gratitude, say thank-you, appreciate what we are given, be positive”…she was a true inspiration in her life and dying days…As I gave a talk on “Aging in Place”…although she was not “aged” I must take my hat off to her family who provided a “home hospice” set up to make her final days more comfortable…

Although we may be sad about past challenges in life, we must look ahead to the future, be thankful, positive and just do whatever we can with and for family and close friends to keep going “up”….




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