YOM KILLER – chapter one

January 23, 2011 at 4:32 pm (Uncategorized)

I never see five o’clock in the morning unless I haven’t gone to sleep yet or am going birding. Everyone who knows me knows I am not a morning person. So when the phone rang before dawn that late September morning two days after Rosh Hashanah, I knew it was trouble.

It was.

“Hello, Aunt Aviva? It’s Larry.”

“What’s wrong? Is it Grandma?” My nephew lives in the Boston area and keeps an eye on our elderly mother for his mother in Florida, and me in southern New Jersey.

“Yes. She fell, and broke her hip. When they took her to the hospital, they ran some tests to find out why she had fallen – I mean why besides going to the bathroom in the dark and not using her walker – and found she had suffered a stroke. She’s alive, but not responsive. Aviva, you’re her medical proxy. We need you here to make some decisions.”

“No heroic measures. She was explicit about that – unless she has a chance to recover to her former self, she does not want any tubes. No feeding tubes, no ventilators, nothing.”

“Too late. The assisted living staff called nine-one-one, and the medics put in a breathing tube. If she can breathe on her own, I’ll tell them to take it out.”

“Good.” I did some quick calculations. “I can’t leave until I get in touch with some people at the synagogue and make sure they have all my notes for next Shabbat and for Yom Kippur, just in case I can’t get back here in time. I think I’ll drive – airfares from Philly to Boston are ridiculous, and it will still take me five hours, what with driving to the airport and getting through security and then renting a car on the other end. In the meantime, get her living will from the office at Forever Young.” Silly name for an assisted living home, but the care was good, and Mom liked it there, so it didn’t matter. “Make sure it’s put into her hospital file. What hospital is she in?”

“Brookfield Community.”

Made sense. Brookfield was the suburb of Boston where Forever Young was located, and where Larry lived.

“Have you called your mother and sister?”

“Mom’s getting the next flight out. I’m calling Trudy next.”

“Tell Trudy to call me. We can share the driving.”

“You two can stay with us. Mom is.”

I groaned internally. “No, thanks, Larry. I appreciate the offer, but things will be tense enough without your mother, sister, and me at each other’s throats. Trudy can afford to get two motel rooms for us.” My sister, Jean, fifteen years older than I am, blames me for leading her computer genius Lesbian daughter, only five years my junior, astray. I blame my sister for having no sense of adventure. Or humor.

And then there is the resentment my sister has harbored against me ever since our mother informed her she was naming me her power of attorney and health proxy, and giving Trudy her finances to manage. It was bad enough that our mother decided she trusted me more than her oldest daughter, but she also didn’t trust my sister’s prince to handle the financial decisions.

At a time like this, we would need to be supportive of each other, not combative. I doubt if my sister would cooperate.

As it things turned out, my sister was the least of my worries.


1 Comment

  1. Donna said,

    Great first chapter, Irene. I love the insider look at the family and the sense of a building storm.

    And Unleavend Dead is an equally wonderful title. I wish you super success with the series.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: