It is 11:25 Sunday night. B”H Benny is resting comfortably in his hospital bed. We checked in about an hour ago. I wasn’t sure how Benny would react coming back to the hospital tonight. Once again, B”H we were pleasantly surprised. Benny fell asleep on the way to the hospital and remained sleeping throughout the check in process.
On the way to the room (guess which one?) the one with the “view”, the one with the “eagle” above the bed, we met Brian in the hallway. Brian is the special person that administered Benny’s stem cell collection over one year ago. He also plays for a band and even wears a Team Benny cap to some of his performances. He was the one who told us that Benny had the highest collection recorded. He was so excited to see Benny and remarked how special “our” family is. It is just what we needed to hear as we embark on this week’s final journey in the hospital IY”H. When he said “our” family, he was referring to each and every one of you!
Tonight, was quiet emotional, and I am sure will continue to be throughout the week, as we take a trip down memory lane. The charge nurse was kind enough to assign us our favorite room. This was the first room we we checked into 13 1/2 months ago. We were in here for two excruciating long weeks. Both, Ari and I stayed here 24/7. The hospital was accommodating by allowing us to bring in an extra bed so both of us could stay. They did their best to make things bearable in the most unbearable situation. The only escape I felt at times, was looking out the window, especially at night, glazing at the light of the moon and the skyline of downtown Los Angeles.
“Avodim Hayinu.. L’Pharoah B’Mitzrayim” although, we say these words year after year every Pesach, I can honesty say, I could never fully understand them until last Pesach, when Benny was first diagnosed. The despair, the darkness, the pain, was intolerable so much so, that after five days in the hospital, the nurse suggested I check myself into the emergency room for fear I was having a heart attack, Chas Veshalom. It was only at that point that I was forced to decide which road to travel. B”H, Benny, Ari, my family and myself, were blessed from the very beginning with a strong network of support, which only grew and grew. It was this network that gave me/us the strength to avoid the emergency room and get us to where we are today.
I will never forget those long sleepless nights, the midnight calls to Dr. Lax in NJ asking for medical guidance, or to countless Rabbi’s asking for Chizuk, or to family and friends asking for Mechila (forgiveness) for any harm I may have caused them. We needed Benny to pull through and there wasn’t one stone we were leaving unturned.
We are so grateful to Hakodosh Baruch Hu, for redeeming us and allowing us to learn the real meaning and purpose of life. We are so grateful for the tremendous Bracha our son Binyomin Chaim has given us. Without him, we would have never known the true definition of Simchas Hachaim (love of life). Benny defies nature. Nature being, with all that he has gone thru; painful chemo’s, surgeries, infusions, sleepless nights, nausea, bad tasting oral medications, high fevers, infections, etc., he should be bitter, angry, cranky unconsolable. B”H Benny had the opposite effect. He lives every moment in the moment, with love, with laughter, with magic, with a deep rooted connection to Hashem.
This morning we were fortunate to pick up at the airport a special visitor from NJ, “uncle” Avi (Rafael Yoel Ozer’s father). Ari and the boys had a wonderful visit, while myself and the girls attended Miri’s Bas Mitzvah . Mazal Tov! Thank you Avi (and Michelle who let him go), for coming to visit and especially lifting the spirits of our children. They really, really miss you!
This evening, before we checked into the hospital we went to Tamar and Ilana’s Bas Mitzvhah celebration. Mazal Tov! These two young ladies were pivotal Team Benny players this past year. Whether it was their warm get well cards, or fundraising capabilities selling lemonade in order to sponsor their mother to run for the Chai Life Line Marathon. The Bas Mitzvah theme was Hakaros Hatov (giving thanks!), set in a decorum of butterflies. The CHLA logo is a butterfly. The butterfly represents not only one of Hashem’s beautiful creations, but the renewal of life. The incredibly gifted doctor’s and nurses of CHLA are blessed with the task of giving those that enter thru the hospital doors, a sense of hope and renewal of life.
The hour is late, I will IY”H write more as the week goes by. I pray with every ounce left inside of me that this is the last Sunday night IY”H that I will be writing from the hospital. The last Sunday night, Benny and I will have to spend away from our family.
This has got to be the week, where we can tell Hashem, we got the message, we understand, we no longer need this test, we love Hashem, we thank Hashem, and we are ready to live our life according to Hashem’s will. There are literally 100’s of individual’s who have done incredible acts, as a Zechus for Binyomin Chaim ben Faigie Sarah. We applaud you. If you have been inspired, it is because you allowed yourself. If you are thinking about making a change, now is the time. Now more than ever, we are nearing the end of treatment. We need to show Hashem, we want to do His will and do not need any more tests or treatments through illness Chas Veshalom to get the message. We all want to see our children, our grandchildren and great great children IY’H grow up healthy and serve in the way of Hashem. Let us show them the way, today!
Benny painting a tile at the Bas Mitzvah that will be donated to CHLA