It Was a Hard Week

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Losing the battle

We speak of it as being a ‘battle with cancer’. Like all battles, it requires an army, each division with its special task, each soldier with a mission to which he devotes his heart and soul. Each ‘soldier’s very being becomes linked to those he helps. Help comes in many different forms.  Therapy, living quarters near the clinic, meals, rides. The list goes on and on. This is no 9-5 job where work-related info disappears from the employee or volunteer’s radar as he exits the office.

 

Shopping for his family at the supermarket, Avi, an Ezer Mizion Linked to Life volunteer,  spots a candy bar that little Yossi likes and, with an unmanly sob, he adds it to his cart. (Yossi’s Mommy used to buy him that candy every Sabbath but now Yossi’s Mommy is …) His phone rings and the shopping cart gets shoved into a corner. The store manager will understand. It’s happened before. His wife will surely understand. She had been tearfully praying when he left the house. It’s Moshe. He needs a ride to the hospital.  Now. They just called. His wife has only hours to live. He knew it was coming but when it does…oh,  it’s so hard. He will be needed for much more than the ride. He and his fellow Linked 2 Life members had supported the family in so many ways for months. “Hashem, give him strength,” he fervently prays as he rushes to his car.

 

Many weeks are filled with joy like when a child wins his battle with leukemia and L2L members drive the family and accumulated paraphernalia home from the hospital.  Soon the child will join his friends in their games, a boy like any other boy. A celebratory parade as they enter the home, each one carrying packages, almost dancing up the stairs. Or when we’re invited to a bris by a young father who had been afraid his baby would be named after him. He’s cured now. The nightmare is over.

 

Other weeks are not so. Like this past one. Ora died this week. She had been part of the lives of so many Linked to Life volunteers in Rechasim and Haifa. Her conversation was never about her pain, her anguish. It was only about how grateful she was to each person for everything done for her family.

“Mere words cannot express my thanks to you for all your help and support. Hashem, in His great compassion and immeasurable love sent me such special agents as yourselves. I bless you all from the bottom of my heart that Hashem should repay you in kind, grant you health, happiness, and success in all your endeavors and nachat from the children. May good and kindness pursue you your entire lives.”

These words were written to Ezer Mizion just a few months ago by Ora a”h.

We rallied. We tried to smooth the way for them, do the little extras to bring some sunshine into their numbered days together. The medical staff fought hard. We fought hard to keep up their spirits. And we lost. Ora is gone.  Ezer Mizion will be there for the family, with the practical, with the emotional as long as we’re needed. We’ll be their cushion, their pillar.

It was a hard week.  There was a family at Ezer Mizion’s Summer Camp whose mother spent the time in bed on pain killers, under the supervision of medical staff, coming out for meals and some low-key activities. How gratifying to have been the catalyst for fortifying the family as they shared an enjoyable time together… their last. A day before camp ended, the mother was hospitalized. The children stayed on to finish camp. Ezer Mizion was with the children when they were told the bitter news of their mother’s demise. The younger ones hugged each other in a bundle of grief and said: “Ezer Mizion will help Abba and us. They never leave us to be alone!”

 

It was a hard week. A single mother of young children. Another young mother. And a sixteen year old boy with a brain tumor. Four young mothers and one young boy in one week.

 

Hashem, please give all of us at Ezer Mizion strength to be their strength. And Hashem, please hold them tight in Your embrace. Hug them. Comfort them. And wipe away all their tears.

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It’s For Real

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Cancer Support: soothing the pain

pr tfillin All he wanted was to celebrate his Bar Mitzvah with Ima….   But his mother is a cancer patient. It’s bad. The top doctors have given up on finding her a cure… They say it’s just a matter of days. And the boy? He didn’t want to be an orphan before his Bar Mitzvah! His only wish: to have his mother at his side on his Big Day. A wish so small… but so out of reach.

💔 A wish that tears the heart to pieces. A heart that can only be made whole again by someone who has within him a giant heart – big enough to encompass a young boy’s pain.

♥ Moishy B, an Ezer Mizion volunteer is such a man whose heart beats with irrepressible, boundless chessed. Work schedules, personal errands all fell by the wayside as he devoted the day to bringing the boy to the homes of gedolei Yisrael (Jewish leaders) to get their blessing in honor of the simchah. Touching the greatness of our gedolim, being soothed by their words of compassion helped heal a heart torn asunder.

📖 Together, they traveled to Jerusalem to daven (pray) at the Kotel and even had a tour of the Kotel Tunnels, specially produced by another Ezer Mizion volunteer, our Man of Action – Moishy H.

🎁 And to top things off (after all, he’s only a young boy)… a bag of gifts and perks organized by Ezer Mizion’s  warm-hearted Mrs. M.

bandaged heart  Ezer Mizion ­– we’re there when it hurts. It’s not just a slogan. It’s for real!

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Cancer Support: soothing the pain
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A Letter Meant for You, Our Dear Friends and Supporters

pr mental illness flower MB900445658Dear Sir, Madam,
It has been nearly a year since
our repatriation to Israel.
Sadly, the joy of our reuniting
with the Motherland has been tragically
damaged by the dramatic diagnosis –
we are both ill with the stage 4 cancer,
currently desperately fighting for our lives.
Our treatments are taking place at the oncological
centre “Davidoff” in Petah Tikva led by the amazing doctor
(or better to say-magician) Victoria Neiman.
It will be very hard to express by words all that valuable help
and support that we are receiving here in Israel, not only from the government
but also from kind and very responsive people, like the staff at Ezer Mizion, who care about the life tragedies of the others.
It was so hard not to cry when we received your Rosh Hashanah presents!
We have never seen so much care and attention before.
The fact that people who have never met us before were able to be so kind
touched us enormously. Your kind deeds give powers to those
who are having to fight the horrible illness. By offering your help
you don’t just provide the presents, for which we are so thankful.
But more importantly, you give us hope to live and feeling that we are not alone,
that we became part of the Jewish Nation that our real Home is here.
Let your kindness and generosity come back to you in multiple numbers,
let your business grow successfully and let your friends and family be happy.
We wish you all the best, health and lots of warmth and light on your ways!
With many-many thanks,
Best regards
Tatyana and Iryna pr mental illness flower MB900445658

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Flying High

Cancer is hard. A child whose worst complaint should be ‘too much homework’ is suddenly confronted with what no child should ever know.   He finds himself in strange surroundings with his body doing strange things. He hears whispered fragments of his parents’ conversations. He witnesses children who shared the chemo experience with him suddenly disappearing and no one wants to tell him where they went.  He’s scared. Confused. Anxious about the future. Will he have a future? He tries to block such thoughts but late at night, in the dark, they come creeping out of their hiding places.

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And his siblings do not have it much better. A bedtime talk with Mommy when the hidden questions can safely be asked is a thing of the past. Mommy is always at the hospital or talking nervously to doctors on the phone. Suppers arrive from strangers. No one is home to help with homework. And worst of all is the terror – that dark shadow that permeates every corner of their home. Continue reading Flying High

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A Letter for You, Our Dear Friends and Supporters

pr mental illness flower MB90043686515 Tamuz 5778

 

 

 

 

To the blessed Ezer Mizion, who surely deserve to be praised,

Their name sung and extolled, and their banner ever raised.

The ones who have set as their mission and their supreme goal

To help the ill and the needy, to comfort, aid, and console,

To nurture and offer assistance – in short, to foster the art

Of bringing joy and solace to every broken heart

To express our heartfelt gratitude, this page will not suffice,

For the dedicated work you do in this tremendous enterprise.

How you sincerely cared for Tzvi, our beloved son,

And arranged a limudei kodesh tutor, to teach him one-on-one.

Bringing us more nachat ruach, with every passing day,

Horseback riding and other therapy, to build him up in every way.

Then giving Michal your attention and generous, flowing aid –

All that’s left is for us to say “thank you”; our gratitude will never fade.

Continue to enjoy success, in all the great things you do,

From us, appreciative parents, who will never ever forget you.

Naftali and Tova W.,

Haifa

(Parents of Michal, who had Hodgkin’s lymphoma and has baruch Hashem concluded treatments.)

 

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An Island of Holiday Joy

The scene: Schneider Hospital in Petach Tikvah

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Cancer support to uplift the spirits and soothe the soul

Baldheaded children, solemn doctors, the smell of sadness and suffering suffusing every corner…

Everyone here is busy battling for life, sometimes against all odds.

Who has time to think about the approaching Yom Tov? The thoughts wander from upsetting test results to grueling treatments and no further.

Shavuot? A far-off dream of some previous life…blintzes frying, tiny tots singing Little Torah, an atmosphere of joy and excitement.

This year? The ambience of a holiday would do wonders for their wounded souls but no one has the emotional energy to even smile. Will Shavuot 2018 just pass over, hardly noticed ?

Unbeknown to these suffering Jews, there was a small group who understood. They understood that these families were incapable of creating their own Yom Tov but how desperately they needed the feeling of holiness, the feeling of being part of the Jewish nation.

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Cancer Support: an island of holiday ambience

And so there, with the very air at Schneider’s laden with despair, they took time off from their own preparations and broke through the hopelessness, bringing light and happiness to these suffering Jews.

In the midst of this sea of sorrow and unimaginable pain, Ezer Mizion Petach Tikvah Linked to Life volunteers set up an island of holiday joy and tranquility.

Dozens of cancer support volunteers did everything to give seriously ill patients and their families a hiatus of calm and compassion. Holiday delicacies were prepared and attractively served and individual needs were met so that each family felt, “Yes, it’s Yom Tov today.”

As one volunteer described it (translated):

I link up to you, we all link together

And in just a matter of minutes

One cake is added to another

One dessert joins the next

Kugel after kugel is baked

And families of seriously ill patients will be able to enjoy delicacies this Shavuot too!

 

Allow us to dedicate the following to you, our precious volunteers:

“Rav Zeira (an ancient sage)said: This megillah (Ruth) – why was it written? To teach you the great reward of those who do chessed, loving kindness”

 

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Bar Mitzvah Celebration?

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Bar Mitzvah celebration?

A young mother in Rechasim is battling cancer but that doesn’t stop the date of her son’s Bar Mitzvah from coming closer and closer. What the family had looked forward to for years promises to be a day of despair. Celebration? How does one celebrate when…when…? And so the days on the calendar rolled on and the Bar Mitzvah was scheduled for a Sunday in mid-April. Bar Mitzvah? One hundred people were invited but there was no joy. Both finances and mood precluded ordering any amenities including food! A bleak celebration indeed.   Continue reading Bar Mitzvah Celebration?

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So, So Much More

Written by an Ezer Mizion volunteer who gained more than she gave during the months that she sat at Leah’s bedside.candle

We stood at the door, needy and poor

Searched for words, but none would appear.

For you, Leah, mere words could never express,

Just a hot and glistening tear.

For whatever we’d say, any words we’d outpour

You were so, so much more…

You were so, so much more…

 

A mother and daughter, sister and wife,

Your “flock” always there at your side,

With devotion and will, and always so calm,

Your children you gently would guide.

 

You had such a pure and pleasant demeanor,

Your genuine joy captivated.

You knew to be silent, even in pain,

A true inner wholeness radiated

 

I felt your strong image obligating us all,

For we saw a life story of courage,

A tale – short, yet long – from which we must learn,

An epic to urge and encourage.

 

I saw your figure arousing, demanding –

So simple, yet sincerely so pure.

Teaching: What value has a transient world

Versus Torah heights that endure?

 

I merited seeing how one can and must

Live with rivers of flowing love

For every mitzvah, for each creature,

And for the Creator above.

I had a walking textbook before my eyes,

Of how to feel the pulse of time as it flies.

 

Pearls carefully strung, pieces of life

Stories too many to count,

You were… You said…

You left us a legacy…

A wondrous lifetime account.

 

Volunteering at your bedside was a privilege indeed,

Your radiant character inspiring,

Days and nights, how you hoped and believed,

I was awed by your faith, never tiring.

 

You lay in your bed, wounded and aching,

Your body, in agony and pain

Yet you did all to give a good feeling, a sweet,

Thanking us again and again.

 

As the sand in your hourglass neared to its end,

You knew how to utilize your time.

To inquire about our new job, a shidduch to suggest,

As if you were feeling in your prime.

 

Your modesty was rare, O, what a loss!

You were a sacrifice, for the rest to atone.

They surely rejoiced up Above when you came,

But, Leah, we were left here, alone!

 

We’ve lost mother and daughter, sister and wife,

Our finest, alas, has moved on!

Our heads are bowed, we weep on end,

The “thorns” need their “rose,” but she’s gone…

 

I know that the prayers and the tears that were shed

Carved into our hearts their impression

They built and transformed, worked wonders indeed,

With their painful, yet penetrating lesson.

 

For, we, too, want to be pure as were you,

To rise above matter, beyond “why”

And, like Leah, to amass innumerable merits,

To lead a life of truth, to try.

 

The final lines, the music fades,

The tears are reluctantly dried.

I’ve written and shared, yet my words cannot paint

Your greatness – I’m just not qualified

 

No, I just couldn’t capture your towering image,

Not your life, nor the secret of who you are.

All we can do is to learn and to yearn

To be like you, though we are so far.

 

See, Leah, the fruits of your labor,

The light that you kindled still glows

It continues to shine and illuminate

The Kiddush Hashem yet grows.

 

The paths that you blazed, rare in their beauty

Many more will yet tread them again,

For this path is not far, it’s within our reach

Yisgadal v’yiskadash shmei rabbah,” Amen.

 

 

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The Journey We Didn’t Plan – Conclusion – taken from the diary of Nechama Spielman

diary Nechama Spielman
Diary of the anguish and terror permeating the planet called Cancer

So it goes, until April. The last treatment for  the cancer providentially comes out exactly on Yigal’s birthday, the second of Nissan (April). One more little note from Hashem (G-d) showing us that He is holding our hands.  Simply and unceremoniously, the old birthday links up with the new birthday, as we plead to live and rejuvenate and truly grow…

Enveloped by parents and all the loving siblings, who have surprised us and come, we take leave of the room that has become so familiar to us over the last few months. Together, we emotionally sing, “Even behind the tough things that you go through – I am standing there.” There are no mistakes in the world. Even when it is concealed from our view – we are being closely watched and cared for… Continue reading The Journey We Didn’t Plan – Conclusion – taken from the diary of Nechama Spielman

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A Journey We Didn’t Plan Part 3 of a 4-part Series taken from the diary of Nechama Spielman

diary Nechama Spielman
Diary of the wife of a cancer patient as she journeys through the nightmare that has overtaken her life

Recap: Nechama has been dealing with her husband’s cancer

Hodu La’Shem (thank G-d). The radiation treatments have helped a lot. The tumor has shrunk which qualifies us for surgery. The remarkable precision of the timing gives us a special feeling. We are slated to go in for surgery right after Rosh Hashanah and to come home for Sukkot. Continue reading A Journey We Didn’t Plan Part 3 of a 4-part Series taken from the diary of Nechama Spielman

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