We first met in an art class (paper mache) for people who have or had cancer. There were less than 10 women in the class. It took a while to figure out who was finished with their treatment, who was still in treatment, and who, like me, would always be in treatment.
P was striking. Tall, and thin, with short light hair. She was often engrossed in her work. She did not chit-chat like the other women.
I discovered that P, like me, had metastatic cancer. She had a different type of cancer and, truthfully, it was a miracle that she was still alive. Her original prognosis was grim, 6 months. I met her several years later.
A nurse by profession, P did not live in an illusion about her fate. But she continued to live life to the fullest. When I met her, she was planning her daughter's wedding.
When my support group started, almost two years ago, she was surprised to see me. I realized she had not comprehended that I also had mets. She was friendlier after that.
Through our support group, I got to know her better. She was intelligent and perceptive. I especially appreciated her perspective on parenting.
P did not join this year's support group. I called her to find out what was going on. She really appreciated the call. She had a conflict with her chemo schedule and it was too difficult for her to come.
Every few months, I called her to see how she was doing. Each time, she seemed happy to hear from me. We would chat for a while and she would update me about her family and her health. She was doing well.
I learned that one of the nurses in the hospital was a close friend of hers. So, periodically, I would ask the nurse about her as well.
It was a while since I last called. So, today I decided to call.
As soon as I asked to speak with her, I suspected that something was wrong. Her daughter handed the phone to someone, and I thought it was P. It was her sister. She was sorry to tell me that they were sitting Shiv'a.
P passed away on Sunday.
Today and Saturday night are the last days of shiv'a (the 7 day mourning period). I would have liked to go, but I won't be able to. Instead, I feel at a loss. I have to focus on getting ready for Shabbat.
I am so sad. So, so sad. But, if I think about P too much, I won't be able to attend to the immediate needs of my family as we all work to prepare for Shabbat.
I want to talk with someone, but I don't know who. The friend I would have called first is in the US. I tried calling one of the women from our group, but she was not home. I tried calling one of the women from Beit Natan; she was not home either.
So, I went back to work. I still have to finish cooking. There is only an hour left.
Please daven (or send happy, healing thoughts) for RivkA bat Teirtzel.
With love and optimism,
BBC's Changing Headline
13 hours ago