I’ll never forget that day my parents called me out of the swimming pool. It was a hot sunny Southern California summer, I was happily splashing away with the neighborhood kids.
They brought me into the house, sat me down and through tears told me that my mother had cancer and that the next few months of summer vacation were going to be filled with dr’s visits and various surgeries.
My 10 year old brain couldn’t quite comprehend the severity and depth of what they were saying.
“But mom is going to be fine, this is not a big deal”. With those words, although shaken, I was able to jump right back in the pool and continue on with my game of Marco Polo.
But things were not easy…mom was obviously not fine. As each summer day passed mom became thinner and more sickly. She lost her hair, and could not eat or get out of bed. Something was wrong, and eventually it hit me, mom may not make it, she could die.
Each Friday night at temple I touched the Torah as the Rabbi paraded it down the isle. With each passing I offered up a prayer to God to heal my mother.
It seemed as if the days that followed brought one bad report after another. I could not wrap my mind around the fact that God had not taken my mothers sickness away. Although we were never taught about healing growing up in the temple, something inside of me knew God was able to heal and ‘wanted’ His children well. This was confirmed as I sat in my bedroom one evening playing with my barbies.
I heard an audible voice so softly call my name…Amy…I jumped up, maybe my father was calling me? I went out to the living room, only to find him shouting at the big Zenith. “How did ya miss that D*&MN ball???” Dad, did you call me? He briefly glanced at me…”no, now go play im watching the game.”
I went back into my room…Amy…All of a sudden this warm presence filled my room, I felt safe, loved and protected…..smiling I continued playing, making Barbie fabulously gorgeous for her big date with Ken.
Thursday night came around and I was off to Hebrew school. We started chanting our prayers in Hebrew. As we were reciting the prayer over the wine;ברוך אתה ה׳ אלהינו מלך העולם בורא פרי הגפן- Barukh atah Adonai, Elohaynu, melekh ha-olam, borei p’riy ha-gafen Translation- (Blessed are You, Lord, our God, King of the Universe, who creates the fruit of the vine)..this overwhelming sorrow came over me and I asked to be excused.
I ran to the bathroom, fell to the floor, and wept with EVERYTHING in me. I lay there on the tiled floor begging God to heal my mother….As an adoptee I had ready struggled with deep feelings of rejection and abandonment….Please dont take my mommy God, I love her so much, please God……IF you are REAL, if that was really your voice I heard then heal her God.
A few weeks later, I was told that mommy was sick and I needed to spend the next school year with my aunt and uncle in Cupertino, Ca. “Mommy is getting better, but she needs quiet around here so this would be best”
For a 12 year old girl this was a major disruption in my social schedule! But i reluctantly agreed thinking this whole mess would be over when I returned.
With each visit home that winter mom looked sicker, “I dont understand God, I thought you were going to take the cancer away.” At this point she had tubes coming out of her distended belly, no hair, and all skin and bones. Her positive attitude was gone, and all she could do was sleep all day. The smell of cancer filled the house, and my dads eyes were constantly puffy and red.
A few months later after settling back in at my aunt and uncles I received the worst news of my life.
Mom was in the hospital, she was dying and I had to fly home immediately. Dying?? What do you mean? God was supposed to heal her. No, they told me she was going to be ok.
I flew home the next day. As I walked into the hospital room, I did not recognize the lifeless, form in front of me. Nothing but a gray shallow shell of my mother….Eyes and mouth wide open…Mom was gone…I didnt make it in time to tell her how much I loved her, she will never know. They told me she was still alive and could hear me, but the moment I left the room the sheet was placed over her beautiful face and she was gone forever….