Sunday, November 07, 2010

Baruch Dayan Ha-Emes / ברוך דין האמת

איידל בת רחל

She will be missed.

More thoughts, added later: 

Last Sunday was so peaceful… for the first time, she closed her eyes and just rested while I did her hands/arms and feet.  I nattered less than usual – I must be a very annoying visitor! – and just felt the raw physicality of taking somebody else’s fingers and toes and soothing them with olive oil. 

I have never had that much physical contact with anybody other than my parents, husband and children. 

If there were a way to help with the taharah, I would offer the family, but I think it would sound ghoulish, so I refrain.  Perhaps there will be a time in my life when I do that kind of thing.  I hope so; chessed for the dead might be easier than for the living. 

This thing – this visiting-the-sick thing… it hasn’t been easy.  It has been hard, and I rarely enjoyed it, not even the smug self-satisfied enjoyment I thought I might get – the girl-guide thing.

But occasionally, my nattering made her smile and if not the run-on conversation about my family’s daily comings and goings (like the best classical Freudian, she rarely commented)… I know she enjoyed the foot rubs.

I tried to find readings that would interest her – not just what I felt like reading.  I tried to never forget she was a neshamah, even when the nursing staff insisted on acting as if she were nothing more than a nuisance, a failing body, a problem.

This morning, I was sweeping up dead leaves and noticed two stacked plant pots:  some bulbs I bought super-cheap at an end-of-season sale (daffs?  tulips?) and hyacinths Arlene gave me a few months ago to keep and force indoors.  She entrusted them to me to bring back to life and return them when they flowered.

My own bulbs had rotted away – too wet! - but Arlene’s had thick green shoots poking out the top; despite the damp, they were already beginning to grow again.  I potted them up carefully, tamping down the earth.  I was going to bring them to her today, even though they weren’t flowering yet, so they could come to life on the window ledge of her room.

Instead, I will bring them inside tomorrow, watch them, and think of her some more.

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