The Story of My First Menorah

My First Menorah

My immediate family are Episcopalians (as I was raised). The daughter of my heart says she’s “pretty much an atheist.” The son of my heart is Jewish. I am none of these, and have no holidays that correspond with my rather inchoate beliefs, so I have, since the death of our mother, celebrated Christmas (and sometimes Easter) with my brother who lives nearby and his family.

Fantasy Menorah

Joey’s Gift – the fantasy Menorah

But over the last few years my son Joey’s Jewish faith has become more important to him, and what matters to him becomes important to me. I had been looking for a menorah but hadn’t found one I liked; then last year he sent me a small pixie-ish menorah for Hanukkah. That settled it. This year I would celebrate this winter holiday with him and his family from afar.

Hanukkah is not an important holiday – it just gets extra press because people feel like Jews ought to get some attention at this time of year, too. But it is the first Jewish holiday this year that I’ve been able to celebrate. It’s not that I am converting to Judaism. I am honoring my son’s faith. I hope to celebrate the much more important Passover with him in person next year.

As I said on Facebook earlier today, “It will be odd to celebrate a religious holiday alone when I have never even done it before. But because one of the children of my heart takes his Jewish faith seriously, it is important to me to celebrate as I know he is doing so far away. I have no religious holidays of my own, so those of my family become important.” Continue reading

Coronary Artery Disease? From Where?

Last Wednesday I had a stress echocardiogram, and the results were “abnormal.” I don’t have the technical knowledge to understand the medical gibberish in the report, but the bottom line is that my doctor suspects “severe coronary artery disease.” So on Wednesday I have an appointment to see a cardiac nurse practitioner.

Heart disease runs deep in my family history. After getting furious with his doctor, who had missed a key indicator for diabetes on a routine blood test (Daddy noticed it and pointed it out), my father went home and had a heart attack at 62. For the next 13 years he had many long periods of decent health, but also many angiograms and angioplasties, not just in his coronary arteries but in femoral and carotid arteries as well. He was up on the roof one day in 1996, happy as could be cleaning tree and leaf debris off, and died in his sleep that night.

One of my younger brothers had a quintuple bypass while still in his 40s. Mom had atrial fibrillation and congestive heart failure. Continue reading

My Cats – Cricket, Lucy and Buzz

Cricket adopted us at the shelter by jumping into my mother’s lap, nuzzling the top of her head under Mom’s chin, and settling down – clearly, “Here I am and here I stay.” Lucy got a home with us because I’m a softie, she’d already been returned to the shelter once, she was older, and she was a beautiful little lady. Buzz joined us because I (mistakenly) thought Cricket would welcome a baby (she liked to groom ME).

I chronicle Cricket’s life and the anguish of losing her in Breaking My Heart – Losing My Sweet Cat Cricket.
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