Wednesday, January 19, 2011

May you be comforted

Jerusalem Hills, Israel

"May you be comforted among the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem."

How often I heard those traditional words this past week. They are the valedictory Jews utter upon leaving a shivah house, a house wherein dwell those in the first seven days of mourning.

DH and I arrived in LA 11 am last Tuesday, the 11th. By noontime we at my parents' house. My mother had been in cardiac arrest several times during the past several hours. Lala, her head nurse said to me, "She is waiting for you and your other brother." My other brother was in fact en route. And for the next several hours, my brother and I sat with my mother, crying, praying, and administering medicine to alleviate her pain and ease her breathing. At 5:40 pm, my other brother called-- he was stuck at Miami International Airport due to the snowstorm DH and I escaped. While other brother was on the phone, my mother passed away. She would have been 84 next month.

Chasidim (religious Jews who worship G-d through spirituality and mysticism) say that many years ago, a chasid passed away and was brought before the Heavenly Court. But to his vast relief, not one accusing angel was in sight. Instead, a chorus of joyous shouts greeted him. "Baruch Haba! Welcome!" shouted throngs of gleaming angels. This tale is told of an ancestor of mine, but it could well be told of my mother. Robbed of her parents, her childhood, nearly of her life by World War II, she came to this country, met and married my father, had me and my brothers. Let me tell you, after what she went through and what she saw, that took courage, and a faith I believe few have.

My mother was buried in Israel, in the Jerusalem Hills. I didn't go to the interment, so as to be with my father, who could not travel due to a blood clot in his leg. My brother noticed on the return flight a reddening in the sky. He nudged my sister-in-law and said, "See that? That's my mother's turn before the Heavenly Court." I don't believe she's done yet and won't be for a long time.


fleegle said...

And may you be comforted as well.

...fleegle weeps for you.... said...

How simply and beautifully you have expressed your loss. My condolences.

Donna Lee said...

That was a lovely post. You made me cry at my desk while I mourn the good woman that was your mother. I wish I had known her, she sounds amazing.
Peace be with you and your family.

Henya said...

Many hugs,
what you said here is extremely touching. May G-d grant you strength to navigate through this very difficult times.
With much love and sympathy - Henya.

Norma said...

May you have as much comfort as you need.
Please accept my condolences.

Vivianne said...

I am so sorry for your loss xx