I remember exactly where I was sitting.
I remember the curious sun ray that peeked inside to see our new house, slid gracefully across the table, jumped down, gave the floor a luster, and flashed me a warm smile. Maybe it was trying to stroke my cheek, even before we ourselves knew that, just a few moments later, we would be needing just such a comforting embrace.
I was writing something in my notebook, when the phone rang. It was Yigal. I waited to hear an update on the test he had done. What I heard were strange words. Words not part of my vocabulary at all.
My thoughts galloped forward at the speed of light.
Not to tell?
My mother. She was also so young.
Mom-m-m-my!!!!! Where are you, Mommy? I so much want to talk to you now!!! Answer me!!! Answer me!!! Not again! It can’t be… Isn’t one bout with cancer enough? Yigal is 41! Even younger than my mother! A quick calculation – how old was my baby sister when Mommy got sick… when Mommy died… Our children are even younger… But Yigal? Hashem? Yigal? Why him? He is my supporting pillar in this world…. I have an unwritten agreement with You not to take Yigal, remember? I can’t manage without him… And people die of cancer! Die! People die of cancer. It’s just a matter of time. Will I have to go through all this again? I can’t… Yes, I can. Maybe this time, it’ll be different? Maybe he’ll live…?
I go outside, where I can connect to the sky…to the infinite. I talk to Hashem. No, I scream to Hashem. Then I begin to plan the first talk- the first time we will tell someone. Interesting how it sounds when you tell it to someone else. I think of my friend, who is like a sister to me. In my mind’s eye, I call. I tell her. I listen to myself, to the totally illogical words that leave my own mouth. Yigal has a tumor. Yigal? What do you mean? What do you mean??! Yigal???? Unit commander in the army, farmer, young, full of energy, strong, what do you mean???
For two days, we are in a bubble. We don’t tell anyone before first breaking the news to the family. We tell the children, each one on his level. We call parents, siblings; each call takes emotional energy. We become depleted. We can’t continue. How will we handle the day-to-day living? And the ups and downs of this journey we’ve been signed up for? We have to be there for the kids…for each other. We’re running on empty. Help me. Hashem, help!
I begin to see how enough emotional energy can carry you but when you run out, you can’t go further. Ezer Mizion has known that secret for years. They know how ‘keeping up the spirits’ is not just a phrase. It’s the building blocks of living in the planet called Cancer. It’s the vitamin that’s added to every ride to the hospital as the driver dispenses his ‘pills’: the blue one is sympathy, the green encouragement. Those same vitamins are tucked into each meal delivered to me at the hospital by caring Ezer Mizion angels. Fun trips for the family, a day of pampering with every extra to remind us what it feels like to laugh, to be happy…Ezer Mizion doesn’t miss a beat.
We’ve met wonderful people at Ezer Mizion. Hashem is holding our hand and sending us such beautiful shlichim. We’ve become so close to Hakodesh Boruch Hu and we’ve learned what life is really about. Our Father, our King, You sent us to this world so that we would grow in it and from it. Help us be written in the Book of Good Life. Not just “Life,” but a “Good Life.” Because man can live in this world and entire lifetime, without ever really living.
To be continued.