Rabbi Elizabeth S. Wood

Rabbi Elizabeth S. Wood
Celebrating Havdallah

Thursday, June 14, 2012

A letter from Auntie Liz

There are only six people in the world who call me Auntie Liz.  Two of them are my own niece and nephew.  Four of them are my friends' children - David, Sam, Yael, and Solly (who really just burbles and smiles at me...he'll get there soon). My best friends for over a decade have made sure that I have a special relationship with their children, because I have an incredibly special relationship with them.
These friends taught me that family is more than just the people who brought you into this world.  Family can be the most special people that you chose to surround yourself with, that are more dear to you than almost anyone else. These families will stick by you through thick and thin (in moments of great joy and moments of utter devastation and loss), make you laugh and cry and add dimension to your life in ways you never thought possible.  There is unconditional love and trust and respect. It has been one of the most sacred and enduring lessons I've learned, as an adult, and I have Michael and Phyllis to thank for that.

Right now, my family is devastated.  I can feel their anger, shock, fear, and sadness.  I feel it too. I can sense their tears.  I am shedding them too. Sammy, who is only six, was diagnosed with Leukemia this week.  And there is no way of understanding it.  None. 

My friend Rebecca wrote a beautiful blog about it here.  She and I went together, less than two years ago, to surprise Michael and Phyllis at the Bris of their newest child. I know she hurts too.  Though she aches for our dear friends, I know her kids are of great comfort to her right now.  And for that, I am incredibly jealous.  I don't have kids of my own.  Michael and Phyllis's kids are as close to my own as any. 

It's hard to feel so helpless from afar.  And while it's okay to feel sad for a while, I can also do something about it, and so can you.  Michael and Phyllis (in particular) are really into Social Media.  Send them a note on Facebook or Twitter (@imabima) (@Abba_Sababa) and follow their blog about Sam's journey once it goes live (soon).  They are overwhelmed by your love and support these last few days.
If you're the praying type, you can add Sam Sommer's name to your healing list and keep all of them in your thoughts and prayers. 
Or you can click here and donate to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.  These are just a few ways to be proactive in a time that feels so unraveled.

This is going to be a long road and a rough journey.  But, I know that in the end, they will get through this.  We all will - because we are all with them on this journey.  So I'll leave you with what I would think Michael and Phyllis would say.  Michael would tell you to not dwell so much on the negative and to visualize the outcome that you wish and hope for - to remain as strong as you are and to know that you can achieve anything if you believe in it.  This is what we can do for him.  Phyllis would tell you ways to be proactive, give great advice, and show her love through her warm smile, her baked goods and home cooking, her texts, tweets, and posts.  This is what we can do for her. 
Sam would ask to play angry birds on your iPad, iPhone, or computer.  He would crack a joke and then laugh like crazy.  This is what we can do for him.  And we can do so much more.

R'fuah Shleimah - A complete healing of body and mind to my little one and to my friends who are truly my family.

Auntie Liz