For the past fourteen years I have lived in another dimension, a place that often challenges my strength, my fortitude, and my faith. After 33 years of marriage, my husband's life shifted in a way that neither of us could ever have imagined. Still grieving the loss of my father, six months earlier, Steve faced an acute case of shingles that damaged his nerves so severely, fourteen years later he still shutters from pain. We faced, together, a 'new normal,' that was anything but normal.
Living with someone who is in constant pain, struggling with physical, emotional, and professional changes in their life, demands enormous emotional, physical and spiritual support. It calls for major adjustments in one's life. No less ever present is the depth of grief that one faces when loss, of so many different realities, walks through your door.
As loving partners, in life and in work, we shared everything. Now as care-receiver and care-giver, we shared something totally different. Being able to count on my partner and rabbi, in my role as cantor, began to dwindle. I faced the inevitable fork in the road - do I hire a rabbi to share my work or do I become one. I chose the more challenging, as often my way, which led me on my unforeseen journey of becoming a rabbi, an unexpected gift that helps to fill my soul's longings and fulfill my continued personal expansion.
My soon to be published memoir shares this fourteen year odyssey of lows and highs for two people destined to be together. 'Alchemy of Darkness, Transformation of Spirit,' teaches how we can find light in the dark and transform difficulty into opportunity.
I share what for me has become my Ten Commandments of Care-giving, as I shared recently in a workshop, "Survive and Thrive as a Caregiver" for the Kalsman Institute. I am happy to speak to anyone sailing on this rocky sea and available to speak and facilitate conversations for your institution or community.