Last Saturday, the day after Christmas, I was reading and the dogs were busy snoozing when my cell rang. I have “The Schuyler Sisters” set to play whenever my mom calls, so I picked up the phone, not expecting anything other than her usual check-in. A male voice greeted me instead and he identified himself as an EMT who was transporting my mom to Parkland because she had taken a fall as a result of a workplace accident. The next few hours were a blur. Because of covid, I couldn’t go to the hospital to meet my mom, which was incredibly upsetting.
I alternated between crying, obsessively checking my phone, calling the hospital, and just staring off into space as my mind spiraled with the possibilities of what could happen. The next five days I felt both paralyzed and frantic, but somehow I managed to make it through. My mom is home now. She didn’t break any bones, but she had a concussion and the doctors found some bleeding in her brain. She’ll be off work for the next month, at which time she’ll be reevaluated and we’ll take it from there.
I can safely say that Saturday night was the most awful night of 2020. I started thinking about what would happen if things took a turn for the worse, how I would make funeral arrangements, who I would want to lead a memorial service, where was my siddur, etc. At one point I even started thinking about what I would want to say about my mom in her obituary and eulogy. I even remember grimly thinking that it was a good thing my mom had bought a grave plot. All of this sounds awful and that I was expecting things to go badly, but the truth is that I have to think about those things even though I don’t want to acknowledge that my mom is more fragile than I let myself think. At the end of the day, I am the only child of a single mom and it will fall to me to gather all these puzzle pieces to put together.
This year was not the best, to say the least. I feel like I’ve listed all the things that have gone wrong this year, but I’m going to take a cue from a friend and list the things that have gotten me through this time/
- My mom
- Maxine and Roxy, the family dogs
- My friends
- Atid Takes On Talmud
- Temple, specifically…
- Senior leadership
- The clergy team
- My coworkers
- The Temple book club
- The forever-in-a-state-of-disarray archives storage room
- Within Our Walls And Beyond task force tackling bias within the Temple community
- My JewV’Nation cohort
- My Selah cohort
I’m sure I missed some things, but these are definitely the most important ones.
2020 was not the year I had envisioned, which I’m pretty sure is applicable to most people. It was an awful year full of tragic events and preventable loss of life. And yet, there have been bright spots that continue to get me through the dreariest of days. That’s important to remember.
The last few days have shown me that I am strong when I need to be and I actually will be okay when my mom passes. I will be devastated, of course, and I know it will be challenging to get through a huge life event like that, but I really will be okay in the end. I have my Temple community to lean on for support, along with my psychologist and psychiatrist. My mom, who has always had conflicting feelings about Temple, even told me that she was grateful that I have Temple to turn to and that gave her great comfort.
My mom is home, the dogs are snoozing, and the night has been quiet so far. And you know what? I really wouldn’t have it any other way and I am ready for whatever comes next.
Happy new year!