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Friday, January 1, 2010

My friend, Chanie Oysh

One of the things I love about my support group, is that the women come from all different religious backgrounds. 

We are all religious Jews, but that is where our common denominator ends.

One of the good friends I made in the group, Chanie Oysh, was from Chasidei Belz (I think).

She often called me once or twice a week to talk.  I always enjoyed our conversations and felt enriched by her friendship.

We were both diagnosed with brain mets around the same time.  But her situation was different.  She had beens experiencing symptoms (slurred speech, difficulty moving her arm) for several weeks before her diagnosis.

Knowing what I know, from the questions I asked my oncologist about my own situation, I was scared for her.

Before I left for our trip, I called Chanie.  I had not heard from her for a week or two (I'm not sure how long; I lose track of time), and I wanted to touch base before I left.  Each time I called, her daughter told me she was resting.  I did not manage to talk with Chanie before I left.

When I came back, I wanted to call her.  Something told me I should check how she is doing before calling her home.

So, I called MT, another woman from our group.  (I wanted to ask her for a ride to our meeting that night anyway.)

MT told me that Chanie would not be participating in our support group any more.

I did not understand her meaning.

Then she told me;  Chanie passed away during the week before Chanukah.

At first, I was upset that nobody told me earlier.  Then I realized that we were already out of the country, on vacation.

How could I have been surprised?  I do not know; but I was.

I felt like I entered some surrealistic dream.

The last time I spoke with Chanie, she seemed much better.  How could it be that this strong, powerful woman was gone?

I thought of our original group. Blimi, Esther, Yehudit, Tzippy, Pia, and now Chanie are all gone. Six out of ten.  There are only four of us left: TK, MT, LE, and me.  Can that be? 

No. I almost forgot MC, from Dimona.  She only participated in our first group; the commute (3 hours, by bus) was too difficult for her. We did meet up last year at Beit Natan's winter retreat.

The four of us have been together for over two years. 

I love these women.

I do not want to lose any more of my friends.

(Thanks to Renee, from Circling My Head;  Her post, about her friends from her original support group, and their passing, helped me confront my own feelings.)

Postscript: ....and then there were four....Following this post, a friend from the group called to let me know that Mazal Chaya, from Dimona, also passed away before Chanukah.  There really are only four of us left....

Please daven (or send happy, healing thoughts) for RivkA bat Teirtzel.

With love and optimism,


rickismom said...

Yes, it is often hard to accept that someone who is "so alive" could have died. I felt the same way about my father.
But in addition, you have the lingering fear about your own mortality, which makes it even harder to deal with.
May you and your remaining friends have MANY MORE HAPPY YEARS together!

mikimi said...

I cam almost relate as we here in Tzfat are dealing with a dear friend ,also name Chanie (bat Rivka)with a wierd brain cancer diagnosed 2 RH's ago. Just over a week ago she was, by her decision I think, placed inn a nursing home in Kfar Hanasi but returns home for Shabbat. I and Zelda and your cuz went to visit her yesterday. It is so hard to watch the deterioration of anyone all the more so a vibrant friend not much older than yourself as she talks with you while sucking on a morphine lolly.
may each and everyone be zoche to a refua shelaima-and soon.

Robin said...

I'm so sorry for your loss, I wish you and the others strength and peace as you try to adjust to yet another loss of one of your own.


Devorah Roselaar said...

Wishing you strength.

Love, Na'amah

Melissa said...

These women continue to be with you.

May Hashem grant you strength of mind, body, soul and spirit.


Love Melissa

Leah Goodman said...

I'm so sorry.

Rahel Jaskow said...

I'm so sorry, Rivka. I send you hugs.

Anonymous said...

so sorry for your loss. nothing we can say can make it any easier.

Shevy said...

It's always so, so hard when a friend dies, period. When you see them go with cancer, taken way too young, and with half-grown kids at home it hurts all the more (I have lost 2 women in 2 years, both with tweens left behind, as well as other friends in other circumstances).

It's a scary thing. It must be scarier than I can imagine for you. I wish for you only good health and happy tidings.

Batya said...

Sorry to hear. That reminds me that I really ought to warn my father that my aunt (his sister) isn't doing well. My cousin h said that our cousin took a leave of absence from work to be with her. That's bad news.