Monday, November 28, 2005

"Remembering" Poem

Another Poem I found. It speaks to some of the things which I have written about.

Go ahead and mention my child,
The one that died, you know.
Don't worry about hurting me further.
The depth of my pain doesn't show.
Don't worry about making me cry,
I am already crying inside.
Help me to heal by releasing the tears that I try to hide.
I am hurt when you just keep silent,
Pretending he did not exist.
I'd rather you mention my child,
knowing that he has been missed.
You ask me how I was doing,
I say "pretty good", or "fine."
But healing is somthing ongoing
I feel it will take a lifetime.

(c) Lindsay Norris

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Growing Old

"Rabbi Shimon ben Akashya says that elderly people who are ignorant of Torah become more disoriented as they age. But elderly Torah scholars are not so. On the contrary – as they grow older, their minds become more and more stable..." (mishna at the very end of Tractate Kinim). Why is that so? A person who is “immersed” in this world and enjoys “everything” that this world has to offer is at the prime of his life in his youth. His youth affords him to take advantage of everything that this world has to offer. As he gets older, he is able to do less, he becomes increasingly more frustrated. A Tzaddik, has been working tirelessly his whole life. Every day is a struggle, so the older he gets, the closer he is to the next world. He is closer to getting his reward in Olam Habah. For him, he is moving closer to the “prime” of his life in the next world, which is right after death in this world.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Shabbos After Kevura

I first met them on Thursday; A young Chassdishe couple sitting side by side saying Tehillim in the waiting area. They had just brought their infant child into the ICU. The child needed surgery to correct a heart condition common in children with Down syndrome. My cell phone battery had run out and I was expecting a call from Nechama's doctor. Not wanting to leave Nechama’s bedside, I asked them if they would mind answering the phone, now charging, if it rang. They graciously accepted. It was a simple gesture, one that ordinarily no one would have given a second thought. It turned out that their child was in the bed next to Nechama. I had no idea that over the next 72 hours, a friendship would form that would last forever.

The next day, the surgeon told the parents that the surgery which had started that morning, had gone well and they simply needed to "finish up". The parents were relieved. Soon after, the doctors returned. This time they asked the parents to convene in the "Green Room." The "Green Room" is a pretty room with pretty green carpet and a comfortable green couch. The room is small but it provides access to the outside world via 2 computers with internet access. The wallpaper is shiny and elegant as is the décor which is in sharp contrast to the “old” ICU. The old ICU is rigid and metallic. Machines are beeping, IV poles everywhere you turn, nurses and doctors shuffling from one bed to the next. As a matter of fact, the “Green Room” is the nicest room in the old ICU.

As they headed for the "Green Room", a chill went down my spine. The "Green Room" is a “bad room”. Pretty,yes.Comfortable,Yes. But no one ever took you to the green room to give you good news. Good news is shared out in the open. Privacy is maintained but no effort is taken to hide the fact that the parents are being given good news. Thanks to the doctors and nurses expert skill and knowledge. But the Green Room was for bad news. I, for one, never wanted to be invited into the Green Room. Once , while taking a nap on the couch, I heard the footsteps and voice of my doctor coming from the hallway. I jumped to my feet and leaped out of the small room. I told my Doctor “I can handle anything that you have to tell me but promise me that you will never invite me into the "Green Room."

The parents emerged from the Green with blood shot eyes. The doctors looked to the floor as they left. There was a problem at the end of the surgery and without a miracle the child would die within hours; most likely within minutes. As Shabbos drew closer, and the imminence of the child's passing was growing nearer, the parents chose to go home and spend Shabbos with their other children. The grandparents would stay behind and make the arrangements.
The child lived for another 20 hours. It was unexpected. But the grandparents displayed tremendous strength during the entire time. The type of strength that can't be dismissed. The whole Shabbos they would not allow themselves to cry or be sad. Each time they felt the natural urge to feel despondent or sad, they literally fought back the tears. We spent a sobering Shabbos, we knew what the “end” would be but we didn’t know when the "end" would be. She passed away Shabbos afternoon.

Sunday was the funeral for the infant. That same day, one of their other children had given birth. A grandson was born. But neither event stopped them from calling me to see how Nechama was doing that afternoon. A few weeks later, I flew to Eretz Yisroel for Nechama's kevura, while my wife stayed home with the other children. The last thing I told my wife before Shabbos was "Remember the Golbergs (not their real name). Be strong for Shabbos. After Shabbos, my wife said that she was able to keep strong on Shabbos because of those people. Needless to say, to borrow an expression, the levee had broken for me and I had the worst Shabbos of my life.

I can't tell you the ways of Hashem but I can tell you that his chosen people are a special breed. Mi cAmcha Yisroel?! The bonds you create in the hospital are among the strongest that you will ever forge. May we only share in simchas.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Poem "Dear Daddy"

I found the poem below on the internet.
I can relate to this on an emotional level not neccessarily on an intellectual
or spiritual one.(Not sure that they have candy in the Olam of Neshamas.)
But is definitly touched my heart.

Dear Daddy,
I know today is Father's Day
And you miss me really bad,
But if you could see what I see,
You wouldn't be so dad.

I have all kinds of playmates
And playgrounds everywhere!
With swings and slides and
Balloon rides that whiz right
Through the air!

We have ice cream, cake and candy,
Milk, cookies and punch;
We never have to go to bed,
And we choose what we want for lunch.

There's even a river where you and I could fish,
The water's as clear as a day in spring,
And beautiful rainbows and fluffy white clouds
From which I can see everything!

So you see, daddy,
Even though I'm not with you,
I'm under my Father's care,
And when it's time for you to come,
You'll find me waiting right here!

And I'll give you the biggest hug -
Gee, I can hardly wait.
And when no one's looking,
We'll even swing on Heaven's Gate!

I love you daddy. Happy Father's Day!

from Darrell, miscarried at 16 weeks on June 15, 1962
and Melody, miscarried at 16 weeks on June 23, 1963.
Written by our mommy, Jo Ann Taylor
This June 15, 2000

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Going through her stuff

There comes a time in the cycle of bereavement when every bereaved parent's has to go through their child's stuff. There is a lot of discussion about what to do with their stuff but I do not intend to address that now. I mean the time to go through their journals, pictures, school projects, clothes or homework. It is an unnerving feeling as you open letters & read diaries marked as "private” or "do not open". Each piece of writing, every homework assignment is a treasure. It is one of the few ways left to discover new aspects of your child. Each page provides a new perspective. But of all the experiences of a bereaved parent, going through their stuff is among the most painful. Trying to interpret, to understand. Squinting to decipher a handwritten word. What did she mean? The painful reality torments and tortures you. It says, "You will never know". Each item becomes more precious. A chewed up pencil has the same value as an expensive necklace. "Whose is this?” you ask. If it belongs to the deceased child, it is cherished.
On a number of occasions, people have asked, "I have something from a friend’s deceased child. Should I give it to them?" My response is run, don't walk and bring it to them. If it is a video clip, a picture, some letter or even the seemingly most insignificant item, it will have great value to the parents. It might be painful but the appreciation that they will have will never be able to be repaid. And if you have nothing, perhaps you have a story to share, don’t be afraid. They will love you for it.
I remember when we went to Israel over a year ago for Hakamas HaMatzava. The children had packed Nechama's jewelry in a little Hello Kitty jewelry box. One of the younger kids brought it outside and left it by the curb. A group of local children took it. "Someone took Nechama's jewelry”, my niece shrieked. I ran outside. My heart was beating, pounding. My limbs were numb. As I caught up to the local "thieves", a group of 10-year-old boys. My face was pained and angry. "Open your pockets!" The boys were frightened. They must have sensed my anger as I think my face portrayed that of a mad man. The boys, as fast as they could, starting handing over each and every piece. It seemed like jewelry was falling from the sky. After I collected all of the missing pieces, the boys ran away. I felt a sense of relief. But after all was said and done, I still didn't have my little girl back.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

A Child Loaned

This is a poem that someone gave to me.
I also know someone who created a collage with
pictures of their child with this poem as the background.

A Child Loaned

I'll lend you for a little time
a child of mine," He said,
"for you to love the whole while he lives.
It may be six or seven years
or twenty-two or three,
but will you, till I call him back,
take care of him for me?"

"He'll bring his charm to gladden you,
and should his stay be brief,
you'll have his lovely memories
as solace for your grief."

"I cannot promise he will stay
since all from earth return,
but there are lessons taught down there
I want this child to learn."

"I've looked this wide world over
in my search for teachers true,
and from the things that crowd life's lane
I have selected you."

"Now will you give him all your love
nor think the labor vain,
Nor hate me when I come to call
and take him back again?"

"I fancied that I heard them say
'Dear Lord, Thy will be done,
for all the joy the child shall bring
the risk of grief we'll run.'

'We'll shelter him with tenderness;
We'll love him while we may,
and for the happiness we've known
forever grateful stay.
But should the angels call for him
much sooner than we planned,
We'll brave the bitter grief that comes
and try to understand.'"

- Edgar Guest

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Tips for Nichum Aveilim

This was produced by University of Cincinnati Psychological Services Center.

When helping people who grieve, it is important that you do NOT…

· Withdraw from the survivor, removing your support.

· Suggest positive outcomes from the loss.

· Mention that the death could have been prevented in some way (e.g., If only….).

· Rationalize positive aspects the death.

· Compare the survivor’s grief reaction to other people you know.

· Dwell on your own grief to show your sorrow.

· Become frightened by intense emotions and then retreat from the situation.

· Try to talk them out of their feelings.

· Force physical gestures (i.e., hug, holding hands, etc.).

· Take rejection by the survivor as a personal attack on you or your relationship
with the survivor.

Please Feel free to add any additional tips of things to say (or not to say)

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Purim Picture

This is a picture from purim. The picture speaks for itself Posted by Picasa
My Goal is to post at least 2x per week on Sunday and Wednesday.