Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Who shall live, and who shall die...

Who shall live out the limit of her days, and who shall not?

This words are from the Une-tanah tokef prayer we say each Rosh HaShonah and Yom Kippur. It came to mind today when I saw the notice of the death of Debbie Peterson in today's SF Chronicle.

Debbie was one of the women in my support group at Kaiser when I was going through treatment for breast cancer. It is true, as her obituary says, "[She] had a huge heart, a huge smile and a huge capacity for letting others know they were loved." She was a fighter who knew how to be an advocate for herself and others. I remember that various doctors were trying to push her into having a surgery she felt was unnecessary. She did the research, found some alternatives, and bucked the system. She was funny, even through sickness, and was a joy to be around.

This makes two women lost from that group--Miriam Engelberg died in October, 2006. Why them and not me--that's a question that cannot be answered. What I will share with you is a poem I wrote while I was going through the treatment process--a time when I wasn't sure what my prognosis would be.
What have I been given?
By glimpsing death,
I touch my nefesh—my soul.
Through the sadness,
I touch my soul.
Through the uncertainty,
I touch my soul.
Don’t harden against thoughts of death
Look at them,
and let them see you.
Join with your soul

Zichrona L'vracha, Debbie.
I know your memory will be a blessing to all those whose lives you touched...like mine.

No comments: