My uncle Yisrael came into hospital one Motzei Shabbos with what he thought was a virus but unfortunatly had a sudden heart attack a few hours later.
Just like that, my aunt lost her young husband, in his forties, with six kids still living at home. Six young orphans, who hadn’t even gotten the chance to say goodbye. Who had confidently assumed that, while Tatty wasn’t feeling so well tonight, he would be there in the morning.
His poor wife, in the first wild throes of shock, grief and the ever present ‘if only’ thoughts, could not even allow herself the dubious luxury of mourning. He’d always worked; now she, a stay at home mum, suddenly found herself thrust into a dual position of breadwinner and homemaker, serving as mother, father and therapist to her utterly traumatized children.
It was an overwhelming task. Daily life was grim, but as the only surviving parent, she could not allow herself to go under; the children needed her, her family lives abroad, and both her parents are terminally ill and require round the clock care.
20 months of unbearable hardship passed. And then… baruch hashem. A simcha! Her son, a tremendous lamdan, got engaged to a wonderful girl. The engagement was celebrated amid mixed feelings of heady joy, grief at the aching absence of Tatty, and panic… how on earth would they manage to pay for the wedding? As the wedding was coming closer, the almanah started experiencing excruciating stomach pains…
Cancer. My aunt has cancer, less than two years after she lost my uncle, less than two months before her son’s chasuna.
Each day, she gets up, pastes a smile on her face, and continues with chasuna preparations. With no money, with no strength, and with constant pain. And her children? She hasn’t told them. She is barely coping with the terror and uncertainty herself- how can she possibly break such devastating news to her innocent yesomim? Their wound is still so fresh, their nightmares so intense- she is their whole world, and she cannot, will not tell them.
Hopefully, she’ll never have to. If she undergoes a major operation, doctors say that while results are not guaranteed, it will massively impact her survival chances and probably even eliminate the cancer in its entirety.
But each passing day, her prognosis is grimmer. She needs to have the operation done NOW- which means privately. And while, due to a family history of Parkinsons, she is partly insured, she has to pay almost £5,000 herself- of which she has not a penny. The operation is scheduled to take place in only ten days.
We, as her close family, are desperately trying to raise this sum in the next ten days, as well as funds to help with chasuna expenses. Hopefully, even the knowledge that she doesn’t have to carry the financial burden alone will help with her recovery IYH, so that she can continue to raise her children and dance joyfully at the wedding.
Please open your hearts and your hands to give generously for this cause. And on 7th Elul, you’ll know that a pure, beautiful chassan is dancing joyfully at his wedding, without ever finding out what we have just told you.