Sunday, May 08, 2005

Letter To Nechama's doctor

Dear Dr. K,
When one is completely engaged in a crisis, one doesn't have the same perspective as an outsider looking in. There are 2 parallel transitions that are taking place in our lives. Firstly, we go through the typical grief or mourning process. There is certainly more good than bad though Nechama is in our minds constantly. Secondly, we are slowly getting back to normal life. As we look back, it is hard to imagine how we lived through all of that.

Life was filled with chaos, fear and a nagging feeling that we did not know what would happen next. The worst has happened and we are in the process of moving on. We have good memories and positive feelings.

Hundreds of people attended the funeral. Rabbi Jaeger spoke first (the one with the white beard), then Rabbi Hiller (the principle of her school) spoke and then I spoke.
I have included that speech from the funeral. When I got to Israel, Dr. Carrey and his family met me there. About 100 people attended the funeral in Israel which was a significant number especially considering that it was so close to Shabbos and we live in America. I wasn't expecting more than 10-15 people. Rabbi Steinwertzel spoke in Israel , followed by my brother in-law and myself. Most of the speakers mentioned the letter that Nechama gave to Rabbi Stein.

Rabbi Stein & his family were close friends of the family. He was a very learned and pious man. Rabbi Stein was extremely ill with cancer so Nechama wrote him a letter to inspire him. It was a letter about how to live with an illness and serve G-d while being happy. I have attached that letter as well.

At the burial, when they lowered the body, I blacked out and my knees gave way. I was passed out for about a minute or two. It was the single most painful experience of my life and even my body could not withstand it. One of the members of the Chevra Kaddisha (burial society) "shpritzed" water in my face in order to wake me up. I finally came to on the 3rd try. Boy, I am going back just to find that guy!

Anyway, that Shabbos was very difficult for me especially being that I was in Israel and Saguite was home. I took the first flight out on Saturday night.

Shiva was a tiring and draining experience. I remember when you walked in with Lynn, Saguite and I jumped up. We were so excited. It was like there was no one else in the house. The 50 people waiting for us didn't think so but we did.

The 30th day after burial is of special significance. There was a ceremony in the Yeshiva and about 400 people attended late on a Saturday night Sept. 4th. This time Rabbi Jaeger spoke followed by myself and then Dr. Carrey. I have attached a copy of my speech. I will send you an audiotape when it is ready as well.

This week, we will be sending a letter to the community to encourage people to continue to pray and do acts of kindness for others in need. Similar to what they had done for Nechama. I have attached that as well.

Nechama's school just opened their brand new building. There is a hall in the school that can be rented for weddings, bar mitzvahs or brises. Several people in the neighborhood got together and are raising money for it. The name of the hall has been dedicated to Nechama Liba. The name is "Ateres Nechama Liba" meaning the "crown" of Nechama Liba aka The Nechama Liba Simcha(Happiness) Hall.

There is a bereavement weekend run by Chai Lifeline in October. Nechama loved you so much and we all knew how much you loved her. I was glad we had spoken before she passed away. We wanted you to know how much we appreciated you and how much you meant to us and to Nechama. You will always be in our hearts and prayers. You were truly a blessing during these most difficult times.
You were always positive no matter what, and that inspired us to be positive.

You were the only one who could have gotten me to go home for those few hours. I was getting a ride once during the last few weeks to the shul while we were speaking. After I hung up, my friend asked me whom I had just spoken with. I responded that it was our doctor. He says, "Oh, I thought it was your sister." We could tell how things were going by your walk or the tone of your voice. I used to jokingly tell friends that our doctor is guilty of "getting too emotionally involved." We, all of us, made good choices. I don't regret any of them. We pushed when we needed to push and we pulled back when we needed to.

A person has a certain amount of time allocated to this world. Not a second longer. We did everything that we could have and more.

Wishing you and your family a Happy and Healthy Sweet New Year.


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My Goal is to post at least 2x per week on Sunday and Wednesday.