I had a “week that was.” And the only thing that got me through was seeing that it takes a village and a LOT of H.P. (Higher Power).
I had planned to fly to the U.S. for a dear friend’s New Year’s Eve wedding in Philly and wanted to see my Mom in Toronto. It turned out that it was cheaper to fly through Toronto. Yay!
Then I got the message that my mother was suddenly moving from an assisted living center to a long-term care facility, which was happening immediately. H.P.: I was already scheduled to be in Toronto, so I could be there for this sensitive and potentially dramatic move. (It is something my mother dreaded her whole life) The idea of breaking the news to her and physically making it happen was daunting. My siblings came to the rescue, and we all worked together from near and far to navigate a very complex challenge in the best way possible.
One brother booked and coordinated movers, one dealt with the practicals of exiting one facility and entering the next– and after I went through all of her things, packed and sorted, and moved her to the new place, my sister, thank G-d, flew in to help in the emotional transition.
Along the way, friends in Toronto hosted me, supported me, came to distract my mother while I went through everything, came with me in the transfer, showed up to help hang pictures and make her new room as cozy as possible, gave me a shot of whiskey at the end of one of the most challenging days… each one a lifesaver.
Yesterday it was time for me to depart Toronto for Shabbat with my daughter and her family who live near Philly; I said my goodbyes to my Mom and sister (she was flying back to N.Y. later that night), drove to the airport, returned the rental car… and then began a 14-hour nightmare journey to the U.S.
The only thing that got me through was seeing that it takes a village and a LOT of H.P. (Higher Power).
It would take much longer than this posting to describe what I went through– delays, canceled flights, going through U.S. immigration and security THREE TIMES in the Toronto airport (that looked and sounded like a third-world country was under siege)– my husband in Israel was up through the night to try and find flights. Then our new travel agent, at 12:30 am in Israel, got me the last seat on a flight to Newark that night, driving distance to where I was going for Shabbat.
I am skipping the details of the drama, but at one point, I lost my backpack with all my I.D. and credit cards (thankfully through more H.P. was found), separated from my carryon suitcase that they insisted I had to check (the first plane was small) and when we were told to deplane that flight that was canceled because of mechanical issues, received a text from the airline that I was being rebooked to fly out 36 hours later on Saturday morning (!!) and my bag was being sent to that plane (!!) And much, much more…
When, after so much drama, I finally got my bag back (hugged it) and got to the gate for my flight to Newark; who was there….? My sister was flying back to New York on the same plane!! It was like a mirage. I fell into her arms and shared what I had gone through. They announced a delay; I was triggered, but thankfully this plane took off, and I was soon in Newark. My son-in-law drove to meet me with hot homemade soup and sushi from my daughter.
The sign on the door welcoming me was the greatest thing I had ever seen.
In the end, although it was far from easy to make happen, my mother is calmly adjusting to her new surroundings. I gained a deeper appreciation of my support network of friends and family, especially a renewed love and appreciation of my sister, Miriam, — and Hashem was showing me that He was clearly with me every step of the way.
I can’t remember the last time I so looked forward to Shabbat.