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A Bumpy Way Back, but Home at Last

A Bumpy Way Back, but Home at Last


The Shabbat service seemed longer than usual. I feel tired, maybe a little dizzy. I usually pass several benches on my walk home. My son tells me to sit when I come to a bench. Maybe I turned down the wrong street. They all look alike. The leaves have budded, but they do not offerSenior moments. I read about them shade or a breeze to cool me. It is hot, hotter than I thought it would be. I wore my tweed jacket. I wish I had some water.

There’s Main Street right ahead. My office is on the corner in a large, old brick building. If I had the key, I could go in and sit down.

I cross Main Street without a problem. The other day a driver ignored me as I walked across the street. The driver yelled at me saying I hadn’t looked. Of course, I looked. Does he think something is wrong with my brain?

Got to be careful not to tell Hinda. My wife is after me to see a doctor every time I can’t find my keys or remember where I put my papers. Senior moments. I read about them.

She says: “If you put them in the same place, you would know where they are.”

I can’t tell her I don’t remember where the same place is from day to day.

Finally, Walnut Street. From here, it’s up the hill to home. I am supposed to drink more water. I didn’t drink enough water at the Kiddush. The rabbi invited me to lunch and to stay until Shabbat was over. Said I looked pale. I now feel a slight breeze. Maybe I should take off my jacket.

In front of my son’s house, I am on the ground. Maybe he will see me. Oh, I forgot his family moved to Newton a year ago. It’s scary having nobody around to help me. Try to think. I am not alone. G‑d is with me. I lean on my left side and get myself up from the ground. Ah, my yarmulke! The one my daughter crocheted for me. Good thing I saw it on the ground. Put it back on.

How did this happen? I think I’m OK. There is blood dripping down my face. Fidgeting in my pocket, I forgot my handkerchief again. Something else I forgot. Don’t be a worrier, like your wife.

I wipe my face with a Kleenex. I think the blood is coming from my nose, and my face hurts too. I see the sidewalk. There it is, a lift in the sidewalk. That’s why I fell. I’ll be OK. Just keep walking up the hill and“What happened to you? I was worried.” comfort myself that G‑d is with me.

There it is, the yellow house and the smell of our azalea bushes. Home at last. I knock on the door. I remember the old house where we used to live with the apple tree in the back yard. Boy, I haven’t thought of that in a long time.

My wife opens the door and says: “What happened to you? I was worried you were late. I thought maybe you stayed by the rabbi.”

“I fell on the sidewalk.”

“Come in. Let’s clean you up. How come your nose is bleeding?”

“I don’t know? What’s the difference? I fell and hurt myself. At least, I don’t break bones when I fall, as some other seniors. Then you are in trouble. I’ll be fine.”

“Why didn’t you put your hand up over your face?”

“What difference does it make?”

“I don’t know, it just seems to me that a person would protect his face with his hand. We could call a doctor.”

“It’s Shabbos. This is no emergency.”

“No, no, I didn’t mean that. I mean call tomorrow or even Monday. Let me see your hand.”

I showed her my hands. “Nothing is wrong. I don’t need a doctor. Just help me now. I am dizzy and want to rest.”

“There are no marks on your hands. You didn’t even try to protect yourself.”

She is such a worrier always worrying. If not about me, then about someone else.

“What are you worried about? There was a problem with the sidewalk. It could happen to anyone.”

“And last month when we were walking together downtown, you tripped then, too. Do you remember?”

“Of course, I remember. I tripped over the sidewalk.”

“But I didn’t, and I was on the same sidewalk. A car stoppedJust help me today and asked if you were OK.”

“I was, and I am. I’m just tired.”

“It’s just that it seems to me that a natural reaction would be to put your hand over your face, and it seems you fell right on your face.”

“Just help me today. Help me take off my jacket and my shoes, and I will close my eyes.”

“Good. Your jacket is still clean. The tweed, my favorite.”

I am so tired I can’t even hear her. I close my eyes. I can rest now. G‑d is with me.

I remembered the last words of our prayers: “To your old age, I am with you, to your venerable years I will sustain you. I have made you, and I will carry you; I will sustain you and deliver you.” (Isaiah 46:4)

Linda Goldberg lives in Natick, Mass., where she belongs to the Chabad Center. She founded The Metro West Writers’ Workshop and led it for 17 years. She is blessed with four grandsons.
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jim dallas May 8, 2017

in spite of any and every thing...if you believe, He is here, even 'there'!
great story, enjoyed best to all the people! Reply

Roberta April 9, 2017

Beautifully done. Reply

M. Diane Flushing, NY February 21, 2017

Actually, Chabad could test it with us and if it works might be a useful app for use world-wide even for non-Chabadniks but maybe used within different separate religious communities (for comfort). Anyway, maybe Chabad can design and license app to generate extra funds for its work. Seems like a fairly simple app to design and i would help in any way i could be useful. The idea, if it has not been done before, is my gift to Chabad. Reply

M. Diane Flushing, NY February 21, 2017

Great!! ^.^ If Chabad folks agree to do it, I will provide whatever information they require to be listed and to be a reacher-outer. I know if i am not on here at least twice a day -- first thing in the morning and an hour before I close my eyes for the night, something would probably be "wrong." Reply

Linda Goldberg Natick February 20, 2017

Thank you Dear M. Diane,
I am overwhelmed with your reaction to the wife, or care giver, since the story was not told from her point of view. The idea of having a reacher-outer, or as I would call it a caring friend, is a great idea. I would join in to help and be helped.
Linda Goldberg Reply

fay natick February 17, 2017

I look forward to Linda Goldberg's stories. They never disappoint. Once again, a very moving story. She is very talented. Reply

M. Diane Flushing, NY February 16, 2017

This is wonderful And what a blessing to have a wife, even if she worry/nags a bit like this one, i guess. Someone waiting to be sure you get home safely. Someone to check your hurt places. Someone so that you are not so alone. Even though G-d is with us, still, it is scary when one is so isolated. Sometimes i wonder: if i drop dead all of a sudden, how many days would it take for someone to recognize i was not active in the world and to come looking to check on me? Hey! I have an idea! Maybe we could start something here for those of us who have no one, maybe an app or a web page where we could sign in and say "hi" regularly and when we did not sign in for some period of time (specific and different for each of us depending on our lifestyle) then another one of us would reach out to us to be sure we are okay. I would volunteer to be a reacher-outer. Reply

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