Archive | September, 2011

Got Milk?

29 Sep

Off the bat, my title means nothing!  I am just not wanting to take the time to invest in coming up with something catchy and creative.  So “got milk” is borrowed.  Of course it has relevance because our family goes through milk so quickly that my neighbors are often checking in with that very question!

A couple things;  I am slow to approve first time comments because I forget that I have them waiting.  Or I forget that is how I have the blog set up.  I will get to it, though it takes a while, but once your first comment is approved you will no longer need mediation for subsequent commentary.  Also, I have written a letter of gratitude toward our business community.  I have been petitioning our local, city paper to run it as well as the Orange County register.  However, getting anyone to respond is challenging.  So I am going to put the letter here in case it is never published for the appropriate people to see.  Not that this group is inappropriate, just that I am hoping to give a little “free publicity” and recognition to the businesses mentioned.  Anyway, here it is:

A Community Effort

By Rivka Bent, 9/2011

 Back in February of this year my son, Cole, returned home to San Juan Capistrano from serving in the United States Marine Corps.  In March, one month after his return, thanks to symptoms from hemorrhage, we learned he had a rare, cancerous brain tumor on his brain stem propelling him into immediate surgery.  During the two months hospital stay and these past four months of rehabilitation, our family has had the privilege of experiencing the generosity and compassion of so many people.  As is customary with illness of any kind, family and friends rally around and support the familial unit being affected.  However, in this letter, it is the generosity of the community at large that I wish to highlight.

 Because Cole is military affiliated, there are many avenues of correspondence which are required.  Faxes, certified letters, copies, over-nighted documents, etc.  I cannot thank Bill and Susan Odelson, of the Paper Annex in Marbella Plaza, enough for their unconditional help.  They have established, “Cole’s Tab”; a non-existent account where they keep the balance due at $0.00.  Yet they weekly fax, copy, and mail out a multitude of information on Cole’s behalf without giving it a second thought.  Additionally, Bill, a veteran himself, has kept a watchful eye over my correspondence methodology to ensure every “i” is dotted and “t” is crossed.  Who would have thought our local mail-station/stationary counter would care so much?  While our balance due on ‘Cole’s Tab’ is zero, our debt of gratitude can never be repaid.

 Another fine example of giving comes from our neighboring city of San Clemente.  Back in June I took Cole to the Ole Hanson Beach Club to see if an aquatic class could accommodate him and his rehabilitative needs.  The manager of the pool, Marty, generously took Cole’s cause into consideration and welcomed him to utilize any and all of their equipment.  On that first meeting we were also greeted by one of the instructors, Vicky, who offered her rehabilitative knowledge and expertise to Cole, twice a week for the entire summer; free of charge.  Debra and Cane, other instructors who teach at the Ole Hanson pool, were considerate enough to share their rented time in the water, allowing Vicky to work her magic with Cole which ultimately improved his strength and balance.  Everyone at Ole Hanson looked upon Cole with a compassion that brought me to tears every time we went.  As with Bill and Susan, our gratitude to all of the people we encountered this summer while at Ole Hanson is immeasurable and forever felt.

 In addition to the two aforementioned community establishments, there are multiple community members who have offered support.  For instance, Buddy the owner of Frio our downtown gelato/frozen yogurt hub, has shown compassion towards our family and slipped Cole a gelato “on the house” once or twice.  An associate working at Kinko’s, learned he was photocopying Cole’s medical chart to send overnight to the VA and decided to take the expense out of his own pocket.  There is more than one Costco employee praying for Cole’s recovery as well as Greg from Staples who has faithfully been praying for Cole since his deployment to Afghanistan in 2010.  Professors and staff from Saddleback College inquire often into Cole’s progress along with Professors Carmenmara and Beatrice who visited Cole in ICU more than once.  Boy Scout Troop 724 has come alongside our family with generosity and hands on assistance.  Optometrist, Dr. Joe Heinrich, has donated an eye exam, and Ocampo’s Landscaping is keeping up our yard.  The librarian at the San Juan Library, the owners from Hummingbird Café, and Arthur from the Old Barn have given us much encouragement during the difficult days in our journey.

 The concept of “it takes a village to raise children” is credited to Hillary Clinton; however, the practice of it falls into the hands of our southland community.  Though we have traffic congestion daily, and frustrations that come from living in crowded areas, we also have a community support system that assuages the tension of gridlock and smoothes the wrinkles of our differences.  We are a community of varying races, faiths, political views, and parenting styles.  Yet when challenges arrive, we become of the same blood and of the same purpose.  Our village is strong because it is full of compassionate and beautiful people.  We are honored to be a part of it.

The Nothingness of Life

24 Sep

Tonight I made dinner early because we had a volunteer function to attend from 5-7:00p.m.  Cole stayed home while Brian, Esther, and I helped packaged rice, soy protein, vitamins, and veggies into bags to send to the people in Haiti through the organization, “”.  As a sympathetic effort on my part and to empathize more fully with my, gallbladder surgery recovering sister, I developed a stomach ache right before we left.  Not a great way to start working with food!

Now at the beginning of this week it looked as if my schedule was relatively open.  However, it has turned out to be an intensely busy and emotionally heavy week.  Therefore when our volunteer shift was up, I uncharacteristically dashed to the car in a need to go directly home and have a lie down.  Once home I quelled the urge to book a hotel and flee for the night (and tomorrow morning) and instead jumped into the shower.  As a result of my bypassing the kitchen, Brian came in the bathroom and asked, “Darlin’ would you like a toasted cheese sandwich with a thin slice of turkey in it?”  Now mind you, when Brian is at the helm of the kitchen, especially a toasted cheese sandwich making kitchen, it usually means he is offering a mayonnaise sandwich with the potential of a slice of cheese present (or at least a somewhat identifiable piece of cheese through the mass of the silky, white,  grease derivative).  And turkey finding its way into the slop would be a far fetched idea, thus his mentioning it remains a mystery.  Even with this knowledge, I answered politely, “No thank you.  By the way, you know I made dinner!”  He said, “You did? What did you make?”  So I reminded him that I had made teriyaki meatballs and rice before we had left to the event.  He said, “Oh, I didn’t see them.”  And he went on to eat his toasted “cheese” sandwich.

…he didn’t see them…

In other words, they didn’t present themselves in a manner conducive to gaining his acknowledgment.  Ladies you know what I mean!   They didn’t pop out of their containers and shout, “Eat me, eat me!!”  They didn’t jump on his plate and lie down in submission!  They didn’t heat themselves up in the microwave oven!

You know, they remained unobtrusive, reticent, and ready to be served.


…I am going to find my way to the sofa now.  Perhaps I will have a bowl of cereal.  Not because I am unaware of the meal available to me, but because I am too lazy to get it all together and heat it up.  It is like the preacher at the wedding ceremony when he says, “And the two shall become one flesh.”  He knew what he was talking about!  He was talking toasted cheese sandwiches and a bowl of cereal!

Saying Goodbye

20 Sep

I have decided (well if I’m honest I’ve known for quite a while) that I do not like saying “Goodbye” to people I love.  In fact you will find that I maintain relationships with people, if I can, for a lifetime.  By relationship I mean, heart ties.  For example, Candy Edman is a subscriber to this post.  I haven’t seen Candy for several years, but her family and ours have remained tied to each other by way of love, prayer, and interest (and maybe a broken toilet or two–haha, inside joke).  I have family, direct bloodlines, that are with me in this way as well.  We live on opposite ends of the coast, or in different countries, yet they are in my heart as if we lived closer.  Why bring this subject up?  I will tell you…

Last night I received a call that my mother had taken my sister, Leah, to the ER.  Leah was in excruciating abdominal pain which painkillers were unable to mask.  Now my rational mind would tell me the circumstance is related to a flare up of her Crohn’s disease.  However, rational wasn’t working its magic for me last night.  You see my father went into the hospital about 20 years ago in pain and with a distended abdomen.  He never came out.  He was riddled with cancer and had ignored the symptoms long enough that by the time conclusions were made from his in-patient testings, he had passed away.  So last night I kept hoping that it wasn’t cancer.  And while we (me on the phone and her in the hospital in northern California) anxiously awaited a cat scan and blood test results, my mind and heart were heavily facing the fear of saying goodbye.  Of course I measured the weight of those thoughts against faith and prayer, which does help keep one from putting the cart before the horse.  However, I was again faced with my disinterest in goodbyes.  And because of that, I hope you all outlive me!  You see I believe in Heaven and I know that is where I am going.  I have no fear of my own death, nor the death of most of those I love (as far as where they are going).  Oh but having to live with the void of someone so significant is abhorrible.  I know I can do it, I’ve done it many a times.  But I just don’t want to!  Now this is not a letter of suicide by any means-Please Don’t Be Alarmed!!!  This is merely an expression of my inner reality; if I didn’t have this blog I wouldn’t even write it down.

There are other forms of “goodbye” I find difficult to deal with, such as the major transitions of life.  My daughter, Esther, is fast approaching 16 years of age.  I am already witnessing the natural progression of her maturation and therefore disconnect from the mother-father-daughter tie.  She is so looking forward to having her driver’s license.  And her car sits in our driveway with its enticing call to a new freedom.  It’s natural, I know.  I went through it, and I have raised both of my children to think independently.  But I still don’t like it.  She is my baby, though she wore red lipstick to school today.  She is my muse, though she consults me less regarding style.  She is my companion, though her friends are fast replacing me.  She is mine, though she is not.

So you see, my sister can’t go into the hospital for pain without me carrying on internally over deeply felt emotions that I manage to sequester most of the time.  No, I contemplate those I love, like, and miss.  I want Heaven now, though I will wait my turn.  Leah is, as I type, undergoing gallbladder removal surgery.  It wasn’t Crohn’s afterall.  She will be fine, and I am grateful.  Now I have to figure out how to gracefully allow my daughter the freedom to grow…

%d bloggers like this: