Tuesday Afternoon: My Rabbi’s Story


This morning was different to wake up to.  It has been a long time since I haven’t had to be at the salon at 8 on a Tuesday. Today, I woke up at 8:45 to see that Chris was not in bed.  I turned back around and closed my eyes.  I figured he must have left for school early.  About a minute later, I heard him crying as he walked into the closet to get clothes.

“My mom is in the hospital,” he said.  Tears were running down his face.

“Oh bubs,” is all I could mutter out in my sleepiness.  I just held him while he cried.  I couldn’t believe the emotion coming from him this morning.  He’s normally pretty tough and its incredibly unlikely that he’ll cry, but when he does, you better be responsive, sleepy or not.

He told me that his sister had been trying to call him and he didn’t hear his phone and that she was freaking out.  His sister is fifteen.  I can’t imagine being fifteen and seeing my mom in an emergency situation.  I was very lucky growing up, I never had to deal with emergencies or bad news.  I still can’t deal with bad news or emergencies.  I tend to go to opposite direction and let other people deal with it. That’s not something I want to take on anytime soon.

Chris got in the shower and I kept thinking to myself that I just don’t want to see him upset, but how could he not be? He hasn’t always seen eye-to-eye with his mom, but this is a situation where that doesn’t matter.  No one wants to see their parent in pain or in the hospital.

After Chris left for the hospital, I sat up.  I didn’t know if to lay in bed or get up. What do I do in this situation?  I had asked if Chris’ sister was alright or needed anything.  He hugged me and went on his way.  He called work.  He’s at the hospital now worried about his mother. What can I possibly do? I can be a good partner is all I do.

I got up and began cleaning the house a bit and then moved onto phone messages.  I have gotten messages from three clients wanting to come in at odd times.  I sent them availabilities and they keep sending back text messages asking for stuff I don’t offer.  They know I ONLY SEND available times. Why are you asking for dumb shit? I keep wondering how people get insistent upon a request and have no disregard or how busy a person may be or what a person my be going through.  When Chris called into work, he told them he had to be at the hospital and would probably not make it in. The response he received is that they would let his boss know and he wouldn’t have to come in until later.  What the fuck, people? He clearly has an emergency to be gone for.  I will never understand the lack of compassion or understanding people have for others.  Please remember, from this point on, after reading this, that when someone has a crisis, always ask: “are you alrght?” first! Don’t be so cold. People really baffle the fuck out of me.

Yesterday I found out that my friend’s mom passed away and today I woke up to Chris’ mom in the hospital.  She can’t speak, she’s not responsive.  I keep wondering how this life works.  Why are we always battling sadness and these abrupt transitions? It’s upsetting to me.  The concept of death has never made me sad.  Clearly, we miss those loved individuals, but it’s the lack of compassion that people exercise that I cannot deal with it.  If you can’t ask “are you alright?” or “do you need anything?” at least send flowers or offer assistance of some kind when they clearly need the support.  That’s not etiquette, that’s being respectful of your fellow human! This morning, I called the florist.  I want everyone that has had tragedy to understand I am here for them if they need me.  They’re in my thoughts and I hope they are all alright.

As I sit here writing, I am texting Chris.  He is clearly concerned for his mom.  I am concerned for him.  I want everyone to be alright always.  Even if you’re crying and I can cry with you, I know you’ll be alright. That’s what I wish people understood: even if all you can do is sit and cry with your friend, partner or co-worker, go do it; that’s compassion, that’s empathy.  Don’t ask when they’ll be coming in to work.  Insensitive fucks.

There is a story my rabbi told me once of a man that went to congratulate his friend on an assumed job promotion.  The man went to his friend with a bottle of wine and knocked on his door.  The friend opened the door and said, “what’s that for?”  The man said, “I’m here to celebrate with you.” The friend looked back at the man and said, “I’m not in the mood to celebrate.  I had a meeting with my supervisor and they chose someone else.  I was informed that I was replaced and that I will be leaving today.  It’s my last day.” The man holding his wine, set it down, hugged his friend and the man began to sob.  The friend looked at the man and said, “Why are YOU crying?”

The man replied, “If I can’t be happy for you, can I be sad with you?”

We need to be like that man more in this life. Before Chris left for the hospital, he came to the bedroom to talk to me. His sister was talking to him and he was crying.  I moved over and he layed with me for a couple minutes and sobbed.  I remembered the man in my rabbi’s story.  It’s my job to me that man right now.


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