Saturday, July 31, 2010

Update on Rose

By Susan Esther Barnes

I visited Rose again this morning. She was lying in bed, covered up to her neck. Her eyes were open, but they didn't move. She didn't give any impression during my visit to indicate she was aware I was there at all.

I held her hand through the covers and watched her breathe. She didn't seem to be in pain. She didn't seem to be asleep. She was just there, breathing.

I sang "Pitchu Li" for her: "Open the gates of righteousness, so I may praise God." It seems to me that when Rose dies, she will be passing through the Gates of the Righteous. In Hebrew, the word is tzedek, either righteousness or justice, so maybe it's really the Gates of the Just.

Rose has lived a long life. She became ill, and decided her time on earth was done, so she stopped eating. After 93 years of life on this earth, 93 years of bringing light and happiness to others, she deserves a chance to rest, to lie in bed and just breathe, before she moves on to whatever comes next.

I realized, over the past week or so, that the idea of joining a chevra kadisha, a holy society, to ritually wash the bodies of people after they have died, no longer seems so scary. How could Rose's body ever be scary?

Before I left, I kissed her on the forehead and told her I love her. It doesn't matter whether or not she heard me; I know she knows. I just needed to hear it one more time while she breathed.

Rose died at 9:40 pm on July 31, 2010, the 21st of Av, 5770.
Baruch dayan ha'emet.

1 comment:

  1. such a sad, soulful post, susan. thanks for writing this with so much friendship and heart. it literally pours right through your words!