web analytics
March 5, 2015 / 14 Adar , 5775
At a Glance
Sections
Sponsored Post


Title: And Twice the Marrow of Her Bones


Title: And Twice the Marrow of Her Bones


Author: Susan Petersen Avitsour


 


 


   And Twice the Marrow of Her Bones can take you far from your expectations of a book about losing a child to cancer. The amazingly clear, honest prose can ennoble you no matter what you believe before reading the memoir. Listen as Susan Petersen Avitsour narrates – in her words and her daughter Timora’s – the drama leading up to, during and beyond Timora’s diagnosis. The family had learned it days before her bat mitzvah.

 

   On page 75 Avitsour relates that Timora, receiving chemotherapy and radiation suppressing adolescent development, “couldn’t find her place in the world of young teenage girls ” Her body had reacted violently to the potentially life-saving chemicals. They filled her increasingly frail body while wreaking havoc on her emotions, as chemotherapy tends to do. Timora’s poem about her predicament, on page 122, concludes “Please,/Open up a little crack/So I’ll know – The world still contains a little light.”

 

   Timora would giggle, prepare craft projects, write poetry, dote on her parents, brother and sisters, act in school plays and pursue scouting activities while suffering two close calls at saving her life in six years. Her family faced them as mortals would: alternating between hope, despair, admirable emotional restraint and the exhaustion which opens the floodgates to pent-up emotions.

 

   Page 107 records the author wondering “And when Timora came down on one of her siblings [ed.: tired of holding back for Timora's sake and of losing time with parents who necessarily supervised - and performed - Timora's medical care], whom was it more important that I protect – the child being unfairly attacked, or the child suffering from a mortal illness? There was no simple solution.”

 

   Observers don’t necessarily appreciate the physical or psycho-spiritual pain influencing ill people and their loved ones. On pages 164-167, we hear proof of that as the heartbroken mother cries out for help during a support group meeting for halachically observant Jews. Tired of meaningless maxims about spiritual healing versus physical curing, Avitsour begs for genuine solace from the rabbinic speaker.

 

   Battered by ensuing insults about her theological beliefs, then by proclamations of religious superiority from the crowd, her agony lifts off the page: “A wave of exhaustion suddenly struck me; I didn’t have the strength for this. I didn’t want to argue theology I wanted to connect emotionally. Wasn’t that what we all had in common?” Many readers will be able to identify with the author’s sense of abandonment at the least expected of times. Clergy and therapists can gain insight into meeting the emotional needs of such people from the incident.

 

   Avitsour’s search for meaningful spiritual comfort to her family’s agony is the focal point of her book. She describes the unconditional love of fellow congregants in her beit knesset and her husband’s delighted astonishment at an over-capacity crowd bone marrow drive publicized in a community newspaper. These and other uplifting parts of the Avitsour family’s life enervated the parents, Timora and her siblings, as they faced six years’ worth of unpredictable days.

 

   Within a circle of female dancers on page 241, Avitsour describes her joy at the wedding of a bride the same age Timora would have been had both classmates reached that calendar date. “I couldn’t help but share in the general elation at the young couple’s happiness But then I was struck once again by a fleeting vision of Timora as she might have danced at her own wedding I do not want to spend the rest of my life overcome with grief for what will never be At the same time I don’t want to run away from my sadness for her and all she might have become. To do so would mean running from Timora herself “

 

   On page 262, Avitsour concludes “God in His grace has granted me – indeed, granted to all human beings, wherever they stand [on the spiritual continuum] a healing force, a source of strength that exists quite apart from the dilemmas and doubts that inevitably arise in any intelligent religious discourse, and replenishes us when we are at our most depleted.” Her prose dignifies the oft-misunderstood agony of parents before, during and after each stage of bereavement.

 

   And Twice the Marrow of Her Bones invites unshed tears to fall and for honest communication to prevail so that emotional relief and repair can happen.It ends with one of Timora’s poems, calling out across time:

 

   And why./Why live./Suffer./Fight, struggle. Why pull and pull like a wretched miserable beast -/For what./In loneliness, in the dark, in the cold./How much have I asked, and how much will I ask/And I am not the only one/Not only when sorrow blinds the eye like a veil of tears./But within me I know/And sometimes, like a flame/The answer blazes before me -/Love.

 

   Therapists and bereaved relatives would do well to read this memoir several times.

 

   Yocheved Golani is the author of E-book “It’s MY Crisis! And I’ll Cry If I Need To: EMPOWER Yourself to Cope with a Medical Challenge”  (www.booklocker.com/books/4244.html).

About the Author: Yocheved Golani is the author of highly acclaimed "It's MY Crisis! And I'll Cry If I Need To: EMPOWER Yourself to Cope with a Medical Challenge" (http://booklocker.com/books/3067.html). It addresses and solves many needs of disabled, ill and recovering readers.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Title: And Twice the Marrow of Her Bones”

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
Megillat Esther
The Origins of Purim
Latest Sections Stories
Yarden Merlot

Bottles of wine accompany the Pesach storytelling – each glass of wine represents the four expressions used by G-d in describing the redemption of the Jewish people from Egypt.

Schonfeld-logo1

There is a point that many parenting books miss: children do more for us than we do for them.

Brigitte was a nine-year-old girl when Islamic militants launched an assault on a Lebanese military base and destroyed her home.

The husband needs to make some changes!

Purim is a fantastic time for fantasies, so I hope you won’t mind my fantasizing about how easy life would be if kids would prefer healthy cuisine over sweets. Imagine waking up to the call of “Mommy, when will my oatmeal be ready?”… As you rush to ladle out the hot unsweetened cereal, you rub […]

‘Double Gold’ awarded to 2012 Yarden Heights wine & 2011 Yarden Merlot Kela Single Vineyard.

One should not give the money before Purim morning or after sunset.

The mishloach manos of times gone by were sometimes simple and sometimes elaborate, but the main focus was on the preparation of the delicious food they contained.

One of the earliest special Purims we have on record was celebrated by the Jews of Granada and Shmuel HaNagid, the eleventh-century rav, poet, soldier and statesman, and one of the most influential Jews in Muslim Spain.

Jews, wake up! Stop educating the world and start educating yourselves.

The lessons conform to the sensitivities and needs of the Orthodox community…

The program took on special significance as it marked not only the first anniversary of Rebbetzin Kudan’s levayah but also the 27th yahrzeit of Rebbetzin Chaya Mushka Schneerson, a”h.

It was only in the reign of George III (1760-1820) that Jews became socially acceptable in Britain, and Nathan became music master to Princess Charlotte and musical librarian to King George IV.

More Articles from Yocheved Golani
Esther Grinberg

Tehilim 71:9 reads “Do not cast me off in the time of old age; Do not forsake me when my strength fails.” The message is apropos to the endeavor – wonder and spirituality ruled as respect for aging heroes of the Shoah increased among Leo Baeck students.

book-Kosher-Grapevine

Title: The Kosher Grapevine: Exploring the World of Wine
Author: Irving Langer
Publisher: Gefen

Breathe deeply. You’ll need maximum physical and spiritual power to absorb the uplifting lessons in this book. Page 249 explains why some Jews are praised as “fish on dry land,” a phrase that describes Moshe Rabeinu. Am Yisrael began to appreciate his depth of character at kriat Yam Suf, realizing that “he lived in the revealed world as though he were in the concealed world.”

Author Irving Langer provides his own look at wine-making as well as the nature of the storage barrels used to age wines for taste perfection. He intersperses the book with Jewish historical facts and figures, a few jokes and photographs, and advice on how to pair wines with specific foods.

Unlike formulaic biographies from popular publishing houses in the Orthodox Jewish world, Beyond Politics is not predictable. The vignettes of individual men and women who trekked through Ethiopia and Sudan, flew in from Austria, India, and Algeria, or were born on Israeli soil are gritty, adventurous, and heartwarming.

Title: The Koren Ethiopian Haggada Journey to Freedom: Celebrating Ethiopian Jewish History, Traditions & Customs
Editor: Rabbi Menachem Waldman
Publisher: Koren Publishing

Most of the No-Potato Passover recipes are as casual as the title’s spelling: some include only six ingredients and limited prep time – half to one full hour. They’re good for heart health and waistlines, too.

The Hebrew-English haggada provides a wealth of photographic evidence of the lives led by Ethiopian Jews. The pottery, the unembellished homes, school, and synagogues, the gaunt Jews in modest clothing and head coverings portray dedication to Torah values despite harsh political and topographical conditions.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/books/book-reviews/title-and-twice-the-marrow-of-her-bones-2/2011/02/16/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: