You’re on the floor of your living room. All you wanted to do was go to the kitchen to brew yourself a hot cup of coffee. You look around. You cannot even see the kitchen. You can see your dining room. Not unlike the dining room where your Ma bentched licht (lit Shabbat candles) long ago. You can picture the candles. You may have fallen asleep. You hear the door to your apartment open.

“Ma,” gasps Renee, “what are you doing on the floor?” She comes over to you and says, “I’ll help you up.” Even with your daughter’s help, you can’t get off the floor.You’re on the floor of your living room

“Who are you calling? Don’t you dare call 911!”

Your walker has fallen beside you, but you can’t reach it. You hear the phone ring.

“Is that your sister? Tell Sandra not to call. Don’t you dare call 911!”

Men walk into your apartment carrying a stretcher.

“I’m not going to the hospital,” you say. The room looks dark.

You hear one man say, “We’ve wasted enough time. Let’s go.”

After a ride in the ambulance, such a tumult, you rest in a bed that seems comfortable.

“You have an infection,” the nurse says, “You’ll stay overnight.”

You’ve had them before and been fine. You’ll stay overnight. You can do that.

After a restless night of nurses, doctors, blood tests, you say, “I want to go home.”

The room swirls around you, so many people.

“She is agitated,” a man in white says.

You feel faint. You wake up with a huge monitor on your chest.

“You’ve had a heart attack,” a nurse says. “You have to rest in bed.”

The next morning, three doctors walk into the room.

“Leave me alone,” you say. “Last night, they promised me they wouldn’t bother me anymore.

“I don’t want breakfast.”

“What can we do to help you feel better?” a woman asks. “What if we take this equipment off and let you sit in a chair. Would you like that?”

“Okay, I’d like that.”

They help you into a chair.

“Where is the coffee? What kind of service do they have here?”

They tell you to push a button for service, and there is no coffee in the morning.

All you want to do is get to the kitchen and get a drink. That’s all you want to do.

A young man who looks like your grandson David comes into the room.

“Can I have a cup of coffee? Where is my breakfast?” you ask him. After he hands you a cup, you say, “This coffee tastes awful. I want a hot cup.”

Both of your daughters smile as they come into the room and say, “You are going to rehab.”

You pray for one more summer. You want to smell the flowers.Good, people go home from rehab

After a trip in a large car, a woman says, “My name is Carlette.

“I’ll be your nurse while you are here.”

Good, people go home from rehab.

“I want to go home,” you tell everyone who visits, but they are not taking you home. Here you sit. They hide your walker; you can’t have your hearing aid.

“Hello, what time is it?” you ask the nurse.

“It’s three in the daytime,” she answers.

“I thought it was nighttime.”

You wait in the day room for your daughters. You don’t want eggs every day for breakfast. They don’t taste like your eggs.

You don’t want to go outside onto the porch, even though your granddaughter brought your sunglasses.

Your great-grandson Jon comes, and you do not recognize him at first. You think he is his father David. Jon pats your shoulder just as you patted David when he was a baby. You feel better.

“How are your parents?” you ask a woman who looks like your daughter Sandra.

“Fine,” she answers, as she wipes away a tear. She brought food from home and tries to get you to eat.

“Don’t leave,” you say as she gets up to go.

“I have to go make dinner for tonight,” she says. “I’ll see you tomorrow.”

You want to get up. You push your arms on the chair to get to your walker. You can’t get up. You push your hands onto the wheelchair as hard as you can, then fall back.

You can’t walk. You’re stuck here.

She kisses you goodbye, then walks out the door without you.

You’re alone. Home is where you want to be, where your precious things are: your mother’s ring, your husband’s tallit, the mezuzah on your doorpost. You fall asleep and dream of when you were young and helped your Ma get ready for Shabbat, kneading the challahs and cinnamon rolls in the morning. In the evening, setting the table, then watching Ma circle her small hands over the lit Shabbat candles. You pray to see and smell the flowers.

A therapist comes in and says, “Just walk over there. I’ll help you.” She helps you stand up and hold onto your walker.

At the door to your room, you see your daughters get out of the elevator with a man wearing a yarmulke.

“I can walk,” you say as you walk down the corridor.

“A miracle,” says the man with the yarmulke.

“Ma, we met Rabbi Dorf downstairs. They have Shabbat services here. He’ll make sure you come to them. You can even light candles.”

“Just walk down the hall to the porch,” the therapist says. “You’ll sit in that chair.”

“It’s too far,” you say.

“It’s okay,” she says.

“How can I sit?” you ask, as she sits you back into a chair.

The man with the yarmulke asks, “Would you like me to give you a blessing?”


“What is yourYiddishe namen (Jewish name)?”

“Chia Sarah bas Chana Yentl,” answers Sandra.

As he says a Mi Shebeirach for Chia Sarah bas Chana Yentl, What is yourYiddishe namen? from your one good eye, you can see the sunlight.

“What are those?” you ask. “I smell something good.”

“Flowers,” Renee says.

“I thought so,” you say.

You can see them now. The sun feels good. G‑d has heard your prayers.

Dedicated to my mother of blessed memory, whose Yiddishe namen is Chia Sarah bas Chana Yentl.