Sunday, September 27, 2009

Waiting. Haunted.

This is one of the waiting rooms at the Jewish General Hospital in Montreal. It's where I found myself earlier this afternoon, after we completed shiva in honor of my late father (still coming to grips with seeing these two words in stark black and white.) My mother-in-law had just come out of surgery and was in recovery...a story for another day, but for now, I hope you'll join me in praying for her health.

As I sat there wondering about life, death and sickness, I realized how this very place had figured so centrally in so much of my father's journey. I thought of how often we had gathered right here as a family for him. And how we were doing the same thing for my wife's mom, who I also call "Mom", now.

It reinforced that life, in whatever form, goes on. And that this place will haunt me for longer than I care to admit.

Quick note: Yom Kippur - the Jewish Day of Atonement - starts tonight. As we're in Montreal, I'll be marking the holiday, with a heavy heart, with my family at my father's congregation, the Young Israel of Chomedey. It's a place where his impact is felt in almost every nook and cranny. I also practically grew up there. Expect radio silence until later tomorrow eve. Whatever traditions you follow, please know I wish you only good health, happiness, community and peace in the coming year. Gmar chatimah tovah.

Update - Feb. 28, 2013: Apologies for this note from the future, everyone. But I'd be remiss if I didn't somehow connect this moment to the here-and-now. My mother-in-law passed away on Feb. 22, and I keep thinking back to this day over three years ago in the hospital, and the conversation we had when we first saw her after my dad's funeral. It was brutal then, and it's brutal now. Loss is never easy, and I'd be lying if I said I had any idea how to navigate any of this. Updated link here. Entry 2 here.

16 comments:

Gallow said...

My prayers are with all of you. I'm amazed that you are still able to post, and hope that by sharing somehow we can all help through the process. It's bigger than any of us.

Susan Helene Gottfried said...

Wishing all you Levys an easy fast. May the Gates close and the Book be sealed with all your names in it.

Thumper said...

Most assuredly, I'll be thinking of your mother in law and hoping for a speedy and eventless recovery.

Hilary said...

I remember those very halls well...

I'm so, so sorry you're experiencing such sadness in your lives at this time. I'm sending best thoughts for your mother in law.

Wendy said...

Dear Carmi,
I am so sorry to hear the sad news about your father. It is tough going through the death of one's parents. The loss leaves behind a void that no one can fill. I am glad you have family all around you. My siblings and I consoled one another endlessly after our parents passed away.

The Jewish General Hospital is an excellent one and I'm sure your father received compassionate care; as your "Mom-in-Love" is as well.

Sending you healing thoughts and prayers in this most difficult time.

fickleinpink said...

thank you for sharing...
prayers for you and your family...

kenju said...

My prayers are with you and your family too, Carmi.

Robin said...

Gmar hatima tova Carmi, and refuah shlemah to your mother-in-law.

May this new year help you all find a measure of peace.

Mojo said...

Here's hoping the new year brings as much joy in its arrival as the old one brought sorrow in its departure.

And hopefully it will also bring a speedy recovery to Debbie's mom.

Times like this I wish I knew more Hebrew. But in any language, the sentiment is still the same.

Kimmie said...

more and more .... sustenance and peace to you and your family .... as much as you need .... for as long as you need it .... blessings and healing on your mom

David said...

we had best not put faith in our own strength, but find all our strength in our faith. Shalom
Gmar chatimah tovah.

Thom said...

My thoughts are with you all Carmi my friend. Keep thinking positive and I hope your MIL will be fine. What a difficult time period you have had recently and my heart is with you all :) Aloha

CCOL4HIM said...

So sorry about your Dad. My father passed away in 1997 due to Alzheimer's and a second fatal heart attack. You'll miss him, bbut the pain gets a little easier to handle after the first year. You and your family are in my prayers. Take care & God bless.

Jill said...

Gmar chatimah tovah. I have no idea what this means but it touched me. My best to you and your family.

Heather said...

My prayers are with you and your family. Praying for peace and comfort and healing.

Kristian Gravenor said...

Sorry to hear.