Right now we are in this awful state of limbo- my dad whose organs have all shut down is on life support. And yet last night at 7pm, after being in the ICU for two weeks, my sister called and said that he was responding to commands. I cannot express the feelings of lightness, the thought that perhaps this man, his smile, his laughter and his very essence would once again be mine to bask in. I jumped in my car and for what felt like the 100th time in the past two weeks, I drove uptown to his hospital, donned my gloves and gown, entered his room, and made my way straight to his small, frail body, covered and encased in so many machines.
My siblings and I have spent the past few days singing to him, playing Pandora ‘s oldies station and regaling him with stories and anecdotes- we’ve been trying to do anything to elicit some kind of response and last night, we did. It was awe inspiring– to ask him if he was in pain and very meekly he shook his head, we asked him if he loved us, if he could hear us, if he knew we were in the room and he nodded. We told him to show us he was in there by blinking his eyes and he blinked. We felt so incredibly grateful that his essence, his soul, (*in Hebrew considered his neshama) was still firmly there and that in the midst of being subjected to so much physical pain- and having all his organs attached to machines- he could still in this small way summon up every last bit of energy to express his love for us. He knew we needed to hear it- and we needed to tell him that he survived this massive operation that every doctor told him he simply couldn’t overcome- we needed to tell him he made it through to the other side.
We tried to explain that we’d been here every day at his bedside waiting for some sign- waiting for him to reach out to us- and for those few brief hours last night I felt like I was floating. I felt hope, I felt possibility, I felt we could beat the odds; I believed he could beat the odds. Unfortunately his little body, with which he has battled so valiantly, the one whose arms carried me to sleep each night as a child, that hugged me when I couldn’t find my place in this world, the eyes that with just a glance could emanate the sweetest of sincerity and smile, the heart that withstood watching with pain and pride as his kids took their first steps, and then birthed their own kids, is now simply being sustained by machines. And we are in the worst kind of limbo, until we wait for his “soul to leave his body” care of divine intervention. Unfortunately until this, divine intervention, our hands are tied and we need to watch him struggle and subsist on machines. And it is breaking our hearts into millions of pieces.