Yizkor for Ronald

Ron-5The Day of Atonement is also the Day of Memory, and the Day of Forgiveness.

A few weeks ago cousin Mitch came out to California for a visit and shared a memory. That afternoon you and he were nine-year-olds in the woods near our house, while I was busy with sports and band and clubs a mile away at high school.

“I’m gonna die before I’m 60,” you told him.

“How do you know?” he said.

“I know,” you said.

50 years later brother Paul and I stood by helplessly, as you lay unconscious on a hospital bed in Florida, watching the moving lines on the monitors drop as lung cancer squeezed the last life out of you.

When I was able to get on a plane and visit you at Merriment Manor, I tried to persuade you to stop smoking.

“It won’t work,” the therapist said.

“Why not?” I said.

“That’s what schizophrenics do,” he said. “It’s one of their few reprieves from the crushing anxiety.”

Every week when I phoned, you always ended the call by saying, “You know I love you.”

“He told me the same thing,” Paul said in the hospital room as we watched your last sputtering breaths. So we started singing:

I just called to say I love you
I just called to say how much I care ….

And we kept going, over and over and over as you left this world.

It’s taking me a long time to forgive myself. What if I had paid more attention, and stayed closer?

Have you forgiven yourself?

“You’re the older brother,” Mom used to tell me. “You have to set the example.”

What if we can both forgive ourselves and each other, now and forever?

“We are God’s teachers,” Rabbi Nachman said. “We set the example. If we forgive, God will forgive too.”

May it be so.

6 thoughts on “Yizkor for Ronald

  1. A rough night- waking up at 3 AM with clear crystal inner seeing of who my mother was in the world and to her family. At the same time outer seeing in my right eye extremely diminished.
    Panic! Am I going blind? Inner and outer — must one be sacrificed to bring in the other? Ultimately there is only one seeing.
    Opening from the heart, can I forgive? May we forgive? Our heart softens and melts.
    Our outer vision is returning. In this moment, all is forgiven.

    1. Barbara,
      Wendy and I are holding you close in our hearts. Blessings for a year of the strongest and healthiest outer and inner seeing; one seeing.

  2. Aryae, My heart goes out to you on this Yom Kippur Day. May you have a wonderful New Year. A month ago I was diagnosed with Cancer. I had a mold burst open on my back and was taken to the Veterans Hospital where they biopted it and came back 5:22. So I’m starting to see V.a. doctors and other Specialists. They don’t exactly give me much hope. But I found your site, and after all the misinformation between us and the pain it has caused me I want to say like your Brother I may be leaving soon. In the 60’s you were a friend who I very much looked up to and in the 70’s I believe you were given bad info from a Women who worked with you. I never understood why she would say a untruth to you coming from me. But like any product it was sold, digested, and you never wanted to speak to me. I respect you to much not to say Thank You for all the Good and /Great things you shared with me. I hope we meet again, if not Here then Their! I send you all My Love, Stuart Getz

    1. Stuart,

      How amazing to hear from you! So, so sorry to get this news about the cancer. You will be in my davening every day for the strongest healing from HaShem.

      I’m also sorry to learn about your memory of what happened between us in the ’70s. I don’t recall it that way — memory is very different. (I learned when I wrote my book “Holy Beggars” how often people can have very different memories of the same events, especially when they happened 40 years ago.)

      I’d love to connect and talk — very soon while we still have time! (Please forgive the several days it’s taken me to respond. That’s a technical glitch, a week of my web site not notifying me of comments that way it should have.) Which VA hospital are you at? Here in the Bay Area? If so I can come and visit. If not, let’s do a phone call. Let me know.

      Sending love.

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