September 2010


Aryeh Klein (z"l), left, Rachel Klein (z"l), right

When my friend Shanainai sent me the link to the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure about a month ago, I didn’t want to hear anything about it. I didn’t want to be reminded, I didn’t want to know, I wasn’t interested.

But then I got to thinking: Yes, my mom and uncle died of different cancers, not breast cancer, but does it really make a difference? Each cancer is different, granted, and research for each type may be done separately, however finding a cure for one can lead to a cure for another, no?

As we speak, chemos found effective for one form of cancer are being tested on other forms. I know – my mom was one of those people. It clearly didn’t work for her, but one day it will.

So I decided to listen to Shanainai and asked my sisters if they’d like to join – they immediately jumped in. Then I published the link on my Facebook wall and Twitter account, and a few friends said they’re interested.

So I hereby announce the Klein Family and Friends team. We will be doing the 5K (walk, not run) on October 28, 2010 in honor of our mom, Rachel Dagani Klein, and our uncle, Aryeh Klein, who just passed away a month ago.

There are 4 ways you can help if you are interested:

1) Participate in the walk. It will be in Jerusalem just outside the Old City. Sign up to join the Klein Family and Friends team here. Click on “Join Talia’s Team.”
2) Sign up as a virtual participant. You won’t be attending (most likely because you aren’t in Israel), but you’d like to help us reach at least 10 people so we can have the minimum team size, and make a donation while you’re at it. You can do that here as well.
3) Donate whatever you can. Honestly, even if it’s just $5, every bit helps. You can done through my page here.
4) Spread this blog post to your family and friends and see if they can help as well.

I haven’t ever asked anyone to give me any money for anything, at least not past high school fundraisers for dance team. I don’t want anyone feeling obligated in any way, and just because I may know you in person, doesn’t mean I will be angry or hurt that you chose not to donate. But if you can, I would really appreciate it. And if you can join us at the race? The more the merrier!

Hope to see you there!

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I usually write when I’m down, but I had a bit of a delayed reaction. 2 weeks ago, my beloved (paternal) uncle died of cancer. He was sick for 14 years, lived well beyond what was predicted, yet this comes as little comfort. The fact is, my uncle was in his early 60s, by all accounts entirely too young to die.

His death comes less than a year and a half after my mother’s. Two blows in such a short period of time. I can’t imagine being in my father’s shoes: Losing a wife and a brother within less than 18 months of each other. My paternal grandparents gone, the last connection to his core family is now gone as well.

My uncle was awesome. He was incredibly loving. My father was always this huge superman in my eyes, the Man Who Could Do Everything. The man who, when I was 7, I proudly boasted would “beat you to grits” if you dared mess with me. But when his big brother would be with him, he looked like a 5 year old boy who looked up to his brother. And that is one of my favorite images in the world.

One, among so many, that I will now have to bring up in my mind, for lack of opportunity to see it in person.

My uncle’s passing was not a shock by any means. He had been touch and go for over a year. Luckily, we were able to see him 2 years ago when he came to visit my mother. A week or so before he died, he had a surgery that was supposed to alleviate some of his pain. What came out of the surgery was a This is It conversation, and a euthanasia wish.

A wish that was granted.

My uncle chose his future, or lack thereof, as it may be. On Sunday night a few weeks ago he called his (grown) kids and my father to say goodbye before he was given enough pain killers so he wouldn’t wake up, and on Thursday morning we got notice that he had passed.

For those few days, it was like my mom all over again, just waiting for the phone call/text message that would say it’s over. I got the message and it didn’t really hit me that he was really gone. For a few weeks. If with my mom I saw her decline, my uncle lived in South Africa, so I did not see him in the hospital, did not say goodbye, and did not attend his funeral. So really, for all intents and purposes, it’s as if he were still here.

But it has begun to sink in, and I can’t help but thank what the heck are we here for? People die so young, before they had a chance to do things, to make a difference. What was the point in my mother’s death? She hadn’t had a chance to teach me and my youngest sister how to be mothers, help us, calm us down. Am I supposed to think “She raised me, and I will raise kids who raise kids who raise the kid that will find the cure for cancer?” Because I have to say, I don’t really see any purpose here right now.

Don’t misunderstand me: I’m not suicidal or about to hurt myself in any way. But I feel resigned to the fact that we are just here to “be” and that’s it. I can’t help but feel sometimes that The Boy will be better off without me, and other than him, I haven’t made an impact of significance on any lives.

To some, this may be the inspiration to do something big. But I don’t think I have anything big to give. I don’t see how I can make my mother’s life – and death – worth something. Nor do I see any point in my uncle’s suffering. Unless their deaths help others understand how precious their parents are, I honestly don’t see the purpose.

And you know what? I would have rather not made those sacrifices to begin with.