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Friday, April 24, 2009

Baruch Dayan Emet

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,


Robin said...

I'm so sorry RivkA. I wish there was something to say to make it better.

Sarah said...

Oh Rivka, my heart goes out to you and P's family. You can call me anytime.

SuperRaizy said...

I'm so sorry about the loss of your friend.

Anonymous said...

I love you.

Batya said...

HaMakom y'nachem...
אין מילים
I hope the blogging helped somehow. We're listening.

Anonymous said...

I am so sorry. I can only repeat what's been said. we're here and listening/reading (even when we're silent). call anytime (even before shabbat).


Anonymous said...

When my friend Lily died from cancer it helped me to write and read about her. But nothing really takes away the sadness from a death. May your friend's memory be blessed.


(what a strange word verification the computer gave me, unncry??)

rutimizrachi said...

Muse said it for me. I hope Shabbat was a nechama for you... and for P.'s family.

We sure could use some really great news about now, couldn't we?

rickismom said...

Wish I had something profound to add. I don't. Too bad you couldn't get to the shiva.

Baila said...

Very, very sorry.

Rahel Jaskow said...

I only saw this now... oh, RivkA, I'm very sorry.

You can call me, too.

david said...

You can always call your brother. I miss you. I'm sorry about P, I also just found out one of our friends here lost a friend to cancer just yesterday.

Stay strong