December 22, 2000
Timmi's condition unfortunately worsened over the past week. On Sunday when I was there she was close enough to consciousness to nod/shake her head three times in answer to my questions. She immediately went back to hyperventilating, however, and so the staff increased her sedation somewhat.
On Monday morning, her lungs looked worse in the x-ray, seeming to indicate respiratory distress. Because she seemed to be struggling so much with the various kinds of light anesthesia that had been tried, and because there was no question of taking the tubes out with her lungs in worse condition, she was put into deep sedation with morphine. Then, later that day, the stuff hit the fan and she went into septic shock. Her body temperature, pulse and blood pressure all declined rapidly, and she was returned to fully machine-assisted respiration, sedated yet more deeply and again given a drip of a medicine to stabilize her blood pressure. In addition, she was started again on a wide range of antibiotics to combat the sepsis. Her condition was defined as somewhere between serious and critical.
Tuesday and Wednesday she was stable, with no improvement and no deterioration. Today (Thursday) there was a slight improvement, with her x-ray looking a little bit better, and with a lower dose of the blood pressure medicine. In addition, some of her breathing is again spontaneous, although that may be because she is breathing faster than the machine's pace. Still, even a small improvement is movement in the right direction.
We sure need a lot of patience. Thank you all for your prayers and love.
Shabbat Shalom to all, and may this Chanukah bring all of us a much-needed measure of light.
December 28, 2000
There is no change in Timmi's condition, nor has there been for a long time. Her lungs are not improving.
At this point it seems that what may be done for her, has already been done.
At this point, what happens is up to God.
Shabbat Shalom to all.
December 31, 2005: Seventh Night of Chanukah
Chanukah is called the “Festival of Lights.” The story of its miracle is well-known: More than 2,000 years ago, the Jews returned to their Temple, which the soldiers of Antioch’s Hellenistic empire had defiled during their war with the tiny Jewish nation’s freedom fighters. Seeking to relight the Menorah,* the priests found a small quantity of oil - enough to last only one day. But seven days would be needed to purify the additional oil that would keep the flame burning. Nevertheless, the priests lit the Menorah as soon as they found the oil. Perhaps in response to this act of deep faith, God caused that small jar of oil to burn miraculously for eight days, so that the Menorah’s perpetual flame did not go out again until the Romans destroyed the Temple two centuries later.
The Torah teaches us that light was God’s first creation. And light is indeed one of our universe's main foundations. The speed of light defines the relationship between the building blocks of the physical world, matter and energy. It is the sun’s light that makes life on Earth possible. And when we look up into the heavens, we see the billions and billions of stars that fill the universe, whose light reaches us over unimaginable stretches of time and space, and whose distance from our own world we measure in light-years.
Light also figures large in the language we use to speak of the spiritual realm. Jewish mystics, for example, have described the physical world as hiding “sparks” that broke away from the Divine unity during that first act of Creation. These sparks are now scattered throughout the material universe, but long to return to their original unity; a Jew’s purpose in life is to “repair" our shattered reality by restoring the sparks to their Source through mitzvot and Torah study. And people of all religions who have “returned” to life after a few seconds of clinical death universally describe their experience as being drawn toward a great light.
How can I even try to speak of these things - of the relationship between God and our souls, in this world and the next? Human language can never be equal to the task of describing the world of the spirit, and words can give us no more than a hint of the truths they seek to reveal. But as I said in my very first post, words are all I have to help me try to comprehend things that are really beyond human comprehension. And I feel that I must at least do my best to understand; so as poor as my language is, I'll try:
In my own private metaphor, God did not stop at creating the light that marked the beginning of time and space. Every time He fashions a human soul, He endows it with a new and unique spark. This tiny bit of light makes us who we are, and enables us to connect with our Creator during our journey through this life. And when we leave the material world, the sparks of our souls are reunited with the Divine light that emanates from God, expanding and intensifying that light as it beckons the human spirit to itself.
When parents bring a baby into the world, we become God’s partners in His renewed Creation. By giving us a child, He charges us with the duty and the incredible privilege of nurturing this new being and its own matchless spark of light. But we are not given to know when our child’s soul will be called back to its Source. That is entirely up to God. And so giving birth to a child, raising her, and loving her demands of us the same depth of faith that it took to light that day’s worth of oil in the Temple, that first Chanukah so many years ago.
Timmi’s flame lit up our lives not for eight days, eight months, or eight years only. God allowed it to shine on us for eighteen years, three months and two days.
May He grant me and my family the courage and strength to continue our own journey through this life with faith and with love, until our own sparks are joined with Timmi’s in their final reunion with the Divine Light.
*Menorah – the seven-branched candelabra that is meant to burn perpetually in the Temple.