Summer is over and Yom Tov has come to an end. It’s back to the routine. Lost homework, missed busses and all the rest. For most people.
As we wait outside in the rain with a shivering first grader who refuses to wear her raincoat, a neighbor looks on in envy. She would also like to be back to routine but her first grader is lying on a hospital bed in the oncology ward. She has her own routine: chemotherapy treatments, tests, pain, and anxiety.
It’s so hard. The endless, complex red tape, the demands of the other children who cannot understand why Mommy is hardly home, the regular household needs, the emotional needs of her precious child lying so pale and wan—it’s all so overwhelming. And then there’s the fear- the terror that engulfs, the horror that crushes, the monster that you don’t want to face but it faces you and you are forced to look into its ghastly eyes, helpless.
You pass by the lady at the bus stop. Her first grader sports a new Hello Kitty knapsack. She’s jabbering about how she can jump from the third step. They seem to be living on another planet. You try to walk this road named Cancer but you stumble. Your strength wanes. You reach out…and there alongside you appears another. Her voice is kind. She holds your hand. “We’ll walk with you,” she says. “It’s too hard to walk alone.”
It is Ezer Mizion. Sometimes in the guise of a driver whose friendly words lift your spirits as he brings you to and from the hospital daily. It may be a warm, caring woman bearing a hot meal when you didn’t even realize that you hadn’t eaten any real food since the meal she had brought you yesterday. Or it may be a trained professional who will guide you through the tangles of bureaucracy or a psychologist offering supportive sessions at no cost. Perhaps a fun trip or a retreat. Or maybe a lovely suite to live in with your family, close to the treatment center to avoid long hours of travel. Or household help, babysitting, homework helpers. Or….
And then, finally, someone to rejoice with when the good news comes: Remission. Relief. Joy. You wave goodbye to the hands that shored you up during the many nightmarish months of horror. They wish you well as you move back to the planet of Normalcy. You meet your neighbor at the bus stop and chat about bedtimes and sibling rivalry. Finally, it’s back to routine for you , too.