I am sitting on my patio in the early evening and looking at a small African violet with eight leaves, to be exact, on the table. It hasn't bloomed in over a year. I keep it, anyway. David gave it to me. David came to the hospital to see me when I was ill and brought this tiny flowering plant. David would also drive me to Synagogue for Torah classes and always made sure I was comfortable. He brought me tea and biscuits during the lecture. So, I keep this plant alive. On this day, in the early days of summer, I have brought it outside and gazed upon it while eating dinner.

Not a day goes by when we do not speak to each otherMy uncle Hershey had come over earlier today to bring by delicious delights. Since we have re-connected, I see him every Saturday and speak to him almost every day. For so long we barely communicated with each other, while he was always a part of me, and now, not a day goes by when we do not speak to each other. Tonight we are eating the delicious offerings of my Uncle Hershey. And I see something else.

My friend, Bobbi, stopped by earlier with a gift for my fiftieth birthday. I have known her since I was nine and her sister, Wendy, who now lives in England, is my best friend. Bobbi brought over a red, glass mobile in shapes of hearts. I hung it out on the trellis, on the deck. I look at it glimmer and reflect on the many, many years of love and joy she and I have shared and how much we miss her sister. She will see her soon.

I prepared a gift for Wendy; two necklaces I made, along with an old photo of me in a brass frame that once held a picture of my husband's great-aunt. Bobbi will take the necklaces and the photo to Florida from Montreal to meet her sister and give her these gifts. Wendy turns fifty this year, as well. As I face a double-lung transplant, she is also dealing with serious health issues. I have a photo of Wendy and me on the fridge, held up by a magnet, when we were twenty or so, swimming in the ocean. Just yesterday I received a tin of cookies from her wishing me a sweet year; all the way from London, England. It seems almost magical.

I could not let Bobbi go without something from me. Something of me. I gave her another necklace that I made and some china from my mother-in-law, may she rest in peace.

This crystal rock stays there, solid, and reminds meThe house is quiet. To anyone's eye it seems somewhat empty, with just my husband, my dog and me. But stroll into the living room. On the large coffee table there is a rather large crystallized rock set on a holder. It is multi-faceted and oddly shaped. I have had it for about five years. My friend, Gary, gave it to me when my mother passed away. He felt it could be something tangible I could look at and hold in those times when life and death seem to merge and one cannot find the light. This crystal rock stays there, solid, and reminds me of how much I love my mother and how much Gary loved me. He passed away three months after her. He was gone in nine weeks; brain cancer. He taught me how to play guitar and his favorite guitar sits on a stand next to my piano. I wrote many songs for him and sometimes still do. He is still here with me.

My husband relaxes outside on the deck. He has prepared our supper, done the dishes, mowed the lawn, vacuumed and did the laundry. He does everything for me until the time I can do things for myself, again. He is the father of my children, my partner in life and here I thought I would never need anyone. I was so determinedly independent. When emphysema set in and just the simple action of putting on my shoes became a chore, sapping me of breath, I found out that my husband was my partner. For real.

My daughter decided to move to Toronto. When my husband drove her there last week I knew I would be alone most of the day and night. I was wrong. Lily and Cathy and Evelyn all came over, in turns. Cathy watched a movie with me, the kind of film that only she and I would appreciate; Evelyn came by and we shared a quick supper, a comfortable chat and some good laughs. But when the night set in, I was alone. My husband was still far away. I called Lily. She came over and lay down with me. For a minute or two. That was all I needed to fall asleep. She stayed until she knew my body was resting and my mind was at ease. Lily is always here for me.

I have friends in the here and in the nowWhy do I write this? Because I am one of the lucky ones. I may need a lung transplant and am entering a new decade having turned fifty, but I have friends in the here and in the now, alive, either in memory or spirit or in actual physicality. All are the same and as equally loved, needed and appreciated.

The Torah has taught this all along, but only now is it so relevant in my life. As a woman, my life is influenced and enriched from the stories of our matriarch, Sarah. Yet the Torah portion dedicated to discussing her, Chayei Sarah, the life of Sarah, is actually the portion in which she dies. Why is her death discussed in the portion dedicated to her life? For when someone makes such an impact in the lives of others, they are still alive, in some ways even more so, when they are no longer in this world. While we may not see them, their lessons and teachings remain eternal.

I know I am never alone. In the face of adversity, on the brink of happiness, I am surrounded by my loved ones. Stop for a minute. Notice who is in your life and who had been in your life and who you want back in your life. Love is precious. Life is precious and we are all with you, always.

Editor's Note: Masha is now number 9 on the transplant list and waiting.