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Chatting to G-d

Chatting to G-d

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My mother didn't just teach me how to pray in a formal sense. She also taught me how to talk to G‑d, directly, about anything and everything. Nothing is too large or too petty.

When I find myself saying, "G‑d, I'm cold and wet and it's raining and I'm late for work… please let my bus come soon," I'm never surprised when my bus comes sailing around the corner a minute later. But, of course, I'm also not surprised if it doesn't – G‑d doesn't have to do what I ask. But at least I tried, and I know He's listening.

My mother was always chatting to G‑d because she understood the real meaning of the phrase "ein od milvado" – there is no one but Him.

She adored us and lived for our visits, phone calls and lettersShe lived alone towards the end of her life. It was entirely her choice. All four of her children tried to persuade her to come and live, if not with us, at least near us. But she didn't want to.

She adored us and lived for our visits, phone calls and letters. Her walls had no need of wallpaper as they were entirely covered with photos of her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren – and not only photos but pictures, paintings, cards and collages they had sent her.

But she valued her independence and insisted on living alone in the home she'd lived in for many years.

So if she had a problem, she would simply explain to G‑d that He had to help her because there was no one else around to assist, except Him.

And He always did.

In the last few years she had fallen a few times, but after explaining to G‑d that He was the only one who could help her get up, she always managed to hold onto a piece of furniture and raise herself.

I can't even begin to remember the number of telephone conversations I had with Mum which began: "Don't worry, darling, I'm fine now." That, of course, always meant that something had happened.

She would then explain what it was that occurred and why she was now fine because G‑d had taken care of her.

One incident that frightened us out of our minds was when two strange men appeared in her apartment one evening. She had heard a noise and gone to investigate. As she neared the door – there they were. Two men against one rather elderly lady.

What really happened, we'll never know. Mum claims she just shouted at them to get out of her house as she lifted the phone to call the police – and they just ran off.

Does it sound logical? They didn't steal a thing, nor did they lay a finger on my mother. But why? Mum knew the answer to that.

"Because G‑d was looking after me, like He always does."

We tried to use this traumatic event to persuade Mum to leave her home and live near one of us or in an assisted living facility. "Mum," we asked, "doesn't this show you how vulnerable you are? What if they hadn't just run off like that?"

G‑d had ensured she felt none of the pain that should have accompanied such a terrible double fractureBut Mum saw it in just the opposite light. "Don't you realize how this just shows that G‑d is always looking after me? I'm fine on my own. You know I'll never move anywhere else. Don't worry, He's always with me."

And He was with her, right to the end of her time in this world.

She was found by Hatzolah EMS volunteers after pressing the emergency button she wore around her neck. A fall had left her lying on the floor with her leg cut and broken badly in two places. To their complete astonishment, when they arrived, she just smiled, thanked them for coming and said, "Please, could you help me back into bed?"

G‑d had ensured she felt none of the pain that should have accompanied such a terrible double fracture. Nor had she noticed the blood she was lying in, despite being completely conscious.

She was hospitalized for several weeks and then transferred to a rehabilitation unit. Although her leg had healed completely, she couldn't walk, and the surgery she'd undergone had left her with terrible breathing problems.

We came from three continents to sit by our mother's bedside and catch her up with news and photographs of a new grandchild and more to look forward to. She was always so happy and grateful to see the photos, presents and cards we brought with us.

Eventually the doctors declared that she would have to go into a home which provided medical care as she needed oxygen support 24/7.

We trembled at having to break the news to her. We prayed hard to find the right words so that she wouldn't be too distressed when she realized that not only could she not go to her own home, but there was no longer even the option of living with one of us.

When we told her as gently as we could, she took it quite calmly – far more quietly than we had ever dared imagine.

One week later, while we were busy searching for a home, she passed away quietly in her chair in the rehabilitation unit.

The doctors and nurses were shocked. She was due to be discharged. Her situation was stable. How could she have just died?

But even through the terrible pain of losing my mother so suddenly, I still understood.

I could almost imagine her conversation with G‑d after she realized that she wouldn't be going back to her beloved home.

I could almost imagine her conversation with G‑d"G‑d, You've always taken care of me. You know I only ever wanted to live in my own home. You know I'll hate living in a nursing home now that I'm sick and no longer independent. It's not for me. G‑d, please, do me one last kindness. Take me now. Take me to my final home."

And G‑d, as usual, listened to her.

Ann Goldberg and her family made aliyah from the UK over 30 years ago and live in Jerusalem. She is a web content and Israel travel writer and writing coach. She runs writing workshops and e-mail courses. For more information visit her website.
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Anonymous July 11, 2015

and she left her home to find the cruety of a nursing home , and prayed to die. I hope that Hashem will relieve our pain with something other than death , although this too is an acceptable outcome Reply

Michoel Shraga HaKatan March 24, 2010

Well... As it is up to G-d to grant the request, it cannot be against his will to submit it. After all, He can just decide not to listen if he does not want to. Now that I think about it, Jonah did the same thing (see Jonah 4:3). Reply

Anonymous Camarillo, CA March 20, 2010

Is a prayer for death allowed? I thought that doing anything that is expected to bring about one's own death violated the prohibition against suicide. If a one expects God to grant a prayer to die, then is praying for death prohibited? Reply

Anonymous Manchester, England March 16, 2010

What a beautiful story about such a wonderful woman. I read it with tears pouring down my face. May G-d bring you and your family many blessings. Reply

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