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.