I climbed into my car kissed Shayna, tears rolling down my face onto her fur.
After an amazing life-loving battle and blowing the averages out of the water, my bigger than life big brother passed away on July 6, 2011 or the 4th of Tamuz, 5771 according to the Jewish calendar.
He died as peacefully as we could have hoped. Enveloped with love. Held every step of the way.
The love of his life, his wife Ha, did not leave his side from the time he went into the hospital on Monday morning until his passing on Wednesday afternoon. Our mom, Barbara, was also there keeping us all connected as only she could. She was busy making sure their sweet cats were fed, fighting with nursing staff to get him properly medicated and being the matriarch of the mishbucha (family in Yiddish). My partner, Sarah, and I were also there keeping vigil since Monday morning, bringing love, comfort and food to everyone as best we could. Our cousin, Craig, was there until the end too. He put his busy life on hold to be part of this process. His strength and tenderness was amazing. Our cousin, Sharon, also came to be with us, which meant so much to everyone. Hunter's best friend Marvin arrived on Wednesday afternoon and bid his farewell to his dear friend. We were all so grateful that we had time to show him how unconditionally he was loved and to say goodbye.
For the last few hours of his life we held him, literally. Each person (Ha, Mom, Craig, Sarah and I) each were touching some part of him. A hand, a foot, his head or each other. It reminded me of the tradition at our synagogue where everyone at Shabbat, during the blessing over the bread, either touches the challah or touches someone who’s touching the challah. The humor would not be lost on Hunter that he was the challah!
Humor was, in fact, something he had up until the very end. When the doctor came in to explain the process to him on Wednesday morning, she noted that he would most likely drift off into a sleep like state. With a little wink in his eye and wry smile on his lips he looked up and said “The BIG Sleep!” Which happened to be one of his favorite Humphrey Bogart films.
In his last days he expressed so much love for his family and friends. He loved and adored his nephew, Amir, and was so grateful to get to spend time with him on June 29th, his 56th birthday. He also told me of his great love for his youngest cousins; Ari, Talia, Elana, Zachary and Wyatt and all of their parents and their loving and wonderful Grandparents, our Aunt Rhoda and Uncle Stan.
As a family we are also very thankful and grateful for the care he got at the San Francisco Veteran’s Hospital. Especially his Oncologist, Dr. Katie Kelley and his GP/Palliative Care Doctor, Dr. Barbara Drye.
He left his body without pain while listening to his favorite music, Karma Moffet’s Golden Bowls of Compassion. Being held and loved by those whose love for him was limitless.
|A Blue Wildflower|
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