Monday, July 18, 2005

V’la-boker rina? A lament for the daughter of one of my dearest friends, whose life lies in ruins

It was supposed to be a file for my “Memoirs” folder. That’s where I write things that I have to say, things that I can say to family and/or friends and things that I can’t say. This was one of those things that I was putting in writing because I couldn’t say it.

It was supposed to be about a little girl. But when I went back and read it, I suddenly found myself in tears.

I cried when I realized what I’d written:

“May she be spared.”

Because I suddenly realized that it wasn’t about her alone.

And that that was why I was afraid.

Her father assures me that she will be spared.

And I breath again, relieved.

Her father assures me that she will be spared.

Would that the same were true of my oldest friend’s daughter.

Who was not spared.

And is not likely ever to be spared again.

That’s why my husband thought that that prayer was about someone else.

He was wrong.

And he was right.

I’ve known her mother for longer than I’ve known my husband. She was one of the first friends I made after moving here over 30 years ago. (Am I really that old?) So I’ve known her daughters since before they were born.

The older one takes after her mother—she’s a brilliant young woman, and articulate.

The younger one draws like an angel, and paints like Michelangelo.

The older one went away to Hebrew University, hoping to study there, and, eventually, make aliyah and create a life for herself in Israel.

She came home sick.

They treated her and sent her back.

This time, her mother had to go and get her. This time, she did not bounce back. This time . . . seems to be her future.

Struck by an uncurable, and not very treatable, heritary illness, she is too ill even to understand how ill she is.

She refuses to apply for a group home because she thinks she’s going to get better. That’s one of her many delusions.

Who can blame her? How can one stare such a truth in the face? How can a person who’s only in her early twenties face the fact that this is her life, for the rest of her life? Endless rounds of therapy. Endless rounds of medications, and adjustments of medications. Endless hours of staring at the walls because she can neither go back to school nor get a job.

No college. No career. No husband. No children.

No future.

This is her life? You call that a life?!!!!!!

I got out of social work school because I couldn’t deal with this population. My girlfriend has to serve dinner to this population every night.

So I sit by and watch one of my best friends live through water torture.

All she can do is watch her daughter’s life slip away into a shadow of a life, a parody of a life, a nightmare of a life, a living hell. For both of them.

(And I pray that her sister will have the good sense to adopt. Three generations is enough!!!)

I can’t remember how long she’s been on my mi-she-berach list, how long I’ve prayed for her health.

I can’t remember how long I’ve thought of her every time I recited the brachah/blessing praising G-d for being rofeh cholim, healer of the sick.

Is it a brachah l’vatalah—do I take G-d’s name in vain when I pray for the health of someone who will probably never be well again?

And that’s why, when I was finished stupidly crying for myself and all my petty problems, I couldn’t stop crying. Because I was crying for her, too, and for her mother.

“V’la-boker rina”? This is what You call “joy in the morning?”

How can I sing, when one of Your children is drowning in the sea?

Answer me!




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