This summer, as soon as I notified my parents about the return of my cancer, my mom wanted to hop on a plane and come to Israel.
"Hold on, Mom," I cautioned, "we don't know what's happening yet. Why don't you wait a bit, and come when school starts. You can help me much more during the school year."
Mom was feeling far away. She was, understandably, quite nervous and worried. But she agreed to wait.
"Mom," I then asked, "for how long can you come?"
Without hesitating, my mom answered "For as long as you need me."
I immediately queried "So, are you moving here?"
After all, even when we are healthy, we all need our moms! Kal V'Homer (even more so), when we are sick!
Since I knew I would have cancer for a long time, I figured I would need my mom for a long time....
Well, my mom arrived at the end of August and this morning, almost a full SIX MONTHS later, my mom went back to her home in America.
I miss her already.
And I still need her.
I am so grateful for her generosity (and my dad’s). She dropped everything in her own life to come and help me.
She helped me with so many things: picking up the kids from school EVERY day (even when she didn’t feel well); making the kids’ snacks and lunches EVERY evening (which is a task that is as draining to her as it is to me); and shopping EVERY week for groceries (even though she can’t read labels in Hebrew and doesn’t speak more than a few words of Hebrew).
Of course, there were all the little ways that she helped as well, with dishes, and laundry, and sewing, and taking kids to the doctor, and taking ME to the doctor, and holding my hand when I wasn’t feeling well, and… just being here.
It was a long visit.
There were times when our home seemed very crowded. Especially in the beginning (read: first four months), when I wasn’t coping so well. During that time, I am chagrined to admit, I took out much of my frustration on my mother (who was VERY forgiving, especially since it is MY mitzvah (obligation) to show her respect).
Ultimately, it was a very good visit. Eventually, I got my act together, and showed my mother greater deference. We had two good months, and I enjoyed our time together immensely.
I particularly enjoyed watching the many small, and special, interactions between my mother and my children. I am certain that, over time, my children will cherish these memories of living with their grandmother. There is something unique, and priceless, about three generations living together. It was a real privilege to have my mother live with us for such an extended time.
My mother left just a few hours ago, and I already miss her so much.
No matter how old I get, I will always need my mom.
Please daven (or send happy, healing thoughts) for RivkA bat Teirtzel.
With love and optimism,