Recap: They were there. They lay in the hospital beds, or sat next to family members for long hospitalizations. They know exactly what it feels like — the paralyzing fear, the loneliness, and the helplessness.
They know the importance of a sister’s outstretched hand, accompanied by a genuine sense of partnership and the knowledge that even though you walk in the darkness — you are not walking alone.
We turned to five volunteers who had been on the other side, on the dark, painful side, and who promised that the moment they were able to, they’d help others — and then carried out their promise.
So very young but they have already learned an important life principle: that one is so much happier if the eye is not focused on the ‘I’. These young people could have spent Tisha B’Av groaning about how hungry they are, how many hours are left, what they plan to eat when the fast is over…Instead they focused on others. On families living with cancer who are surely having a difficult time fasting as they continue to deal with the nightmare that colors every moment. On parents who are not even home but are spending the day at what has become their second home – the oncology ward of the hospital. These Ezer Mizion volunteers cannot cure the cancer but perhaps they can alleviate the burden by keeping the children happily occupied during this most difficult day. And so, in spite of the miserable heat, in spite of their own weakness, off they went – over 40 Ezer Mizion volunteers – to give those kids a fantastic time.
Of course, transportation was needed both for the kids and the volunteers but there was no lack of those who wanted to be part of this project. When a request went out, the replies poured in:
Cancer is devastating. For the patient and for the whole family. A typical scenario involves a young mother. Her husband is traumatized. His world has collapsed. He is too young to even fathom the possibility of death. His wife is – was – vibrant, full of life. He can’t even utter the D- word. And amid the horror of grappling with what cannot – please, G-d, please – will not happen, he also has to cope with homework, laundry, the full gamut of running a home.
And the kids? They are utterly confused, terrified to leave their home each day. Some will sleep in the hallway outside Mommy’s door somehow feeling that their presence will ensure Mommy’s being there in the morning. Others are afraid to step outside on the ground for fear of stepping on someone who has died. Guilt, anger, terror, dread, confusion all entangled inside a vulnerable, bewildered child. Continue reading Staff Guidance