Join The Conversation With Mishpacha's Weekly Newsletter



Last Melody

As told to Machla Abramovitz by Bracha Silver

The ICU usually allows two visitors at a time. This time was different — as it had been other times during the last three months of Avi’s life. In addition to nurses and family, the Who’s Who of the frum music scene squeezed into the room.

Tuesday, February 03, 2015

SingerShlomoKatz had flown in from Israel and was making music along withShlomoReichman,GabiShull, Yummy Schachter,AbieRotenberg, and others. Accompanied by guitars and keyboards, their sweet, heartfelt voices rang out. The nurses didn’t understand the meaning of the Hebrew words being sung, but that didn’t matter. With hands clasped, they swayed to the harmonious rhythms and melodious beats. “Avi, open your eyes,” I whispered to my son as he lay attached to his lifeline — the respirator that was helping him breathe. “Look who’s here,ShlomoKatz. He flew in from Israel. He’s standing right next to you. Avi, please open your eyes.” Avi had been slipping in and out of consciousness for the last few days. He couldn’t open his eyes. Still, he understood. I knew that because the monitor showed his heart rate going up — he was excited. As we swayed to the music, we felt Hashem’s presence pervading the room. And this wasn’t the first time: this happened often in the ICU with Avi. I was happy for Avi. I was also happy for myself. Only a few days earlier, the ICU’s head physician had instructed the nurse not to resuscitate Avi should he stop breathing on his own. He did this against my express wishes. “Bracha, why do this to yourself?” he told me. “He’s going to die anyway.” But how could I deprive my son of a single moment of life? Had we not slapped the hospital with a rabbinic and legal order, Avi might not have been there with us that day, getting excited by the music. During the final months of Avi’s life, I encountered acts of unbelievable kindness from staff and strangers, as well as heartbreaking coldness and cowardice. In caring for Avi and advocating for his right to live, I found my voice as I had never found it before. It is a respectful voice, filled with conviction, determination, confidence — and gratitude to G-d.

To read the rest of this story, please buy this issue of Mishpacha or sign up for a weekly subscription

Share this page with a friend. Fill in the information below, and we'll email your friend a link to this page on your behalf.

Your name
Your email address
You friend's name
Your friend's email address
Please type the characters you see in the image into the box provided.
CAPTCHA
Message


 
Top-Down Theory
Shoshana Friedman Our true currency, the accomplishments we value most
Strive for What Binds Us
Yonoson Rosenblum The chareidi community represents something of an oasis
Embracing Victimhood
Eytan Kobre Combating the allure of victimhood
The Kids Are Going to Camp, the Parents Are Going Broke
Miriam Klein Adelman Mindy has to feel good; it doesn’t matter that I feel ba...
Work/Life Solutions with Carlos Wigle
Moe Mernick “Rejection is Hashem’s protection” 
How to Create a Simple 900-Page Novel
Rabbi Emanuel Feldman All of us can reset the titles of our own lives
Stand There or Do Something
Baruch S. Fertel, MD, MPA, FACEP It’s called collaborative care, and it works miracles
I'm Here — Are You Ready?
Riki Goldstein Upbeat and catchy, but still makes listeners think
Back in Time
Riki Goldstein "I wish I could recapture that excitement"
Mixed Messages
Riki Goldstein The unsung craftsmen who give albums their special touch
Go in Peace
Faigy Peritzman Inner peace makes us vessels for blessing
All Work and No Play
Sarah Chana Radcliffe A life only about doing your duties loses all its color
Dying to Believe
With Rav Moshe Wolfson, written by Baila Vorhand Emunah peshutah is the force behind Jewish continuity