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Eyes to See

16 Feb

*disclaimer:

I carry the burden of the loss of my son daily. It doesn’t matter if I’m joyful, silent, tired, hungry, irritable, sassy, asleep or awake–the weight of grief is upon my soul always. Yet today I will sidestep my own grief progression to take on that of another.


If you have been following me through the several years I have been writing here at Bentrivka.com then you will undoubtedly have picked up a few clues about my love of riding a bicycle. I am quite grateful for the ability to ride and the area in which I live with the many bike trails offered. My physicality is not something I take for granted, in that I recognize even the fine motor skills at play that make it possible for me to do the activities I love.

Well this past weekend I had the time, inclination and need for a long coastal bike trail excursion. You see I had a migraine, and for some reason riding my bike makes me think the migraine will subside naturally. It doesn’t but I still give it a try even though I usually end up needing aspirin and an ice-pack anyway. It was a bright sunny day and the sun felt great, with its warmth upon my skin, while the cool of the breeze maintained my body temp at a perfect level. I had my big dark sun glasses on and of course a spaghetti strap black dress (typical Rivka riding attire). I had a long sleeve Brian Bent custom t-shirt on over my dress and a jacket around my waist “just in case” it was needed (always carry a jacket, that’s my motto). I also had a pair of black capri leggings on under my dress because the breeze was a bit cool for my reptilian tendencies.

In cooler weather you would find me bedecked with a wool sweater on under the jacket (not tied around my waist but on me proper and zipped up to the collar). I would have a wool scarf tied around my neck or draped over my head and around my neck to both keep my ears and entire head warm. I might also have on gloves and a wool beret. All of this is quite normal…normal that is for me!

I was well prepared for my bike ride a few days ago except for one thing. I should have worn a visor to prevent the sun from shining down directly upon my eyes. With a migraine my eyes become quite sensitive to light and though I had my dark lens glasses on, the glare still penetrated without a covering. Realizing half way into the ride that the bright sun was exacerbating the headache pain, I took my long sleeve black shirt off of my body and placed it on my head, overhanging my sunglasses just slightly with the arms tied around the back of my neck. This helped tremendously, it blocked the direct light and I was able to continue the ride in more comfort.

I was pretty sure I looked ridiculous but that is never cause to stop me from arranging my dress in form or fashion of my choosing. So the looks and constant glances from other athletic passerby’s I took in stride. Until…

A man passing by me, going the opposite direction on his bike, looked at me and point blankly said, “Go Home!” And he kept riding. Go home? Did I really hear him correctly? Could he really have been so ignorant and stupid to yell that to me? “Go Home,” he said.

Even as I write this here my soul grieves and I sigh deeply. This man, this person whom knew me not, looked my way and saw a Muslim woman. The stupidity of his comment to a woman with a head-covering on while exposing her chest, shoulders and arms is just over the top ludicrous. And for some reason of which I cannot fathom, he thought it right and justified to tell her to “go home.” Now please understand, I am not grieving my own story here. Rivka (me) is not a Muslim woman wearing a head covering because of her faith and enduring the sneers and jeers from others as result. Make no mistake, I am not offended because of something that was said to me. I am deeply disgusted that anyone would cast such hatred to another…ever. My heart breaks for the unjustified (and ignorant) discrimination that continues still today. And right here in this supposed liberal la-la land in which I live called, California. My story, too, comes on the heels of my husband sharing with me that at our local shopping mall the daughter of a friend wore a head scarf and was told to “take that thing off” by other shoppers. A story I was disinclined to believe, until my own bike ride experience.

I wish I could step in and “take the hit” for another in every case of discriminatory attack. I would take it because it’s a third-party pain making the impact just slightly more bearable. I wake up white and able which, in this day, puts me at an advantage in dodging preconceived scrutiny. But then I remember that the European Jews during the time of Hitler were white, able and some of them even fought for their country during WWI. Ship me back in time and my “advantage” subsides. Oh world we have come so far in technological progress, have we really grown so little as a people?

Sorrow I have. Anger I have too; but hatred is not a part of me. I will stand firm against it. Using my voice and keeping the love of the Lord in Heaven the governor of my soul, I will stand against it. And with this proclamation comes the real challenge, to not hate the hater.

bentrivka

 

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Odds and (goofy) Ends

25 Apr

Truth is, I have written many a post while standing in front of my bathroom mirror applying the necessary makeup with which to meet the day.  But then I am off and running, in many directions, though none of which proves to be an effective method for taking off the extra 15 pounds (6.8 kilograms) that has made its home around my waist.  Now that that has been said, I say, “welcome back”…to myself!

Sheesh, sometimes just living is all I can handle; let alone formulating thought beyond “duh?”—so it has been these last few weeks.  And because of the many trains of thought that have been running through the station of my mind, I will utilize this post as a sharing ground and by doing so, hopefully return next time to musings beyond the fragments I will utilize today.  …like always, I make no promises!

  • This morning I stared at the coffee bean grinder, while it was grinding my beans, and blankly kept the button depressed while the, already pulverized (now) grounds, twirled and whirled within the encapsulated bin.  I finally caught myself and asked, “Rivka what are you doing?”  “Nuthin, why is it a bad sign when spinning coffee grounds prove entertaining?”  Let us let the answer to this one lie dormant…please!
  • Where is the summer weather I know and love?
  • We hosted my coming of age niece for a week last week; our time together was delightful.  I am exhausted!
  • Our family has learned (I say “has” because we are in fact enacting the following concept) to operate within a strange, new normal.  At least it feels strange to me.  My son’s health is poor…this is not new news.  And we have learned to operate within a crisis state by vacillating between attending to the extreme and attending to other aspects of life, simultaneously.  Let me explain.  I have learned to utilize my days’ allotment of energy to step up to whatever the occasion at hand might be.  Such as, coordinating healthcare maneuvers for my son while sharing Hollywood’s iconic locations with my niece.  In fact, I picked her up from the airport Sunday morning, drove her to my house, picked up my son and drove him to the emergency room, took him home after he received the proper treatment, returned to my house to step back into the shoes of ‘happy hostess’ and made a decent dinner which we enjoyed together.  The last time my son was taken to the ER my husband and I were attending a Bat Mitzvah, 500 miles away.  It was that day I learned how to practice this new place of normal–happy for the young lady of honor while fielding questions of concern via text.  I even danced that night.  And this past week I moved between these two vastly different planes like an old pro.  My conclusion?  Life is life…this is mine (ours).
  • A cancer diagnosis sucks.  It sucks because the looming statistics attached to the particular type are always with you, even when you ignore them.  Because of this truth, my son is scheduled for MRI’s of his brain tomorrow night.  Result of his health bouncing between bad to worse, back to bad again (at worse is when we head to the emergency room).  I miss my son.  Esther misses her brother.  We miss his joy, we miss his hope, we miss his wit.  Brian would never say something so negative!  🙂
  • It is a strange place of existence, carrying on in life while housing a broken heart…for many of us, this is normal.
  • My daughter attended a high school Prom this past Saturday evening.  I thought she didn’t care much about it, turns out I was wrong…dead wrong!  Screech, shift gears, and voila, my attention became all hers.  Thankfully I have an understanding niece!  In fact, she became integral to the cause…photographer.

    Prom photos

    Esther ready for Prom

  • I have a headache, today is the third day I have awoke to its imposing presence.  Last night Brian asked me a financial question, I told him I do not calculate well at night, nor with a headache, which made it impossible for me to pursue getting him an answer as both were a present factor.  Today he expects to revisit the topic, at least it’s morning!  In fact, it is still early.  Strange thing happened for me today (yes another one), I awoke and thought it was roughly 7a.m.  You see our electricity was turned off yesterday due to pole repairs.  As a result, my clocks (coffee pot included) are not set correctly.  And since I kept my cell phone turned off I was truly unaware of the hour.  Brian awoke and joined me as I was finishing breakfast…at, I thought, about 7:30-8:00a.m.  He checked his phone and reported it was only 7:13a.m.  Wow, I gained a whole hour!  …I wonder at what time I awoke this morning?  No wonder the spinning coffee grounds fascinated me so! 😉

Well as the Looney Tunes family of cartoons would say, “that’s all folks!”  And just as I am finishing expelling my fragmented thoughts, Brian shows me a photo of my paternal grandparents, Harry and Bessie, on their wedding day in the 1920’s.  I must now go and ponder why I don’t know more about this fascinating couple.

nostalgic family photos

Harry and Bessie

Oh CRAP! And Other Signs of Age Progression

7 Nov

It has been a while since my last post.  And though I had given a slight clue, in my last writing, as to what I would be writing in this current (or next) post, I have, “Rivka style”, changed direction.  I say, Rivka style, because I have found that the one constant about my direction is that it is always changing.  For instance, my good friend and I travel to Santa Catalina Island once a year for a girls getaway.  This past weekend marked our 14th or 15th year of wreaking havoc on the sleepy town of Avalon.  And as has been our custom, every year prior, we share a barbeque chicken pizza along with a dinner salad for one of our meals together.  However, this year as she excitedly sat at our familiar table ready to order our “specialty”, I spilled the truth.  “Uhm, Candice, I have a confession to make…I don’t like barbecue sauce anymore.”  Now in years past she would give me a good ribbing about it, but this year she resigned to what she has come to know to be true, “Rivka is always changing her mind!”

Yes, folks, I am.  And though I would like to write about the adventure of finding the San Diego Velodrome, it will have to wait; because I have changed my mind.  I have changed partially due to the fact I have been dealing with migraine headaches again.  And the headaches affect my ability to work at the computer because I am a slow writer, as well as, a slow reader.  And the pain is quite intense, and the intensity grows the longer I stare at the screen.

Though I previously had connected gluten as the cause of my head irritation, I have since discovered it is not the case.  Yeast and sugar, perhaps, though I am not wholly convinced (due to my own elimination diets of the past) that the cause is of MY doing.  Truth be told, I have recently shared with Brian that while I am under the ‘spell’ of pain, I am feeling as if G-d is punishing me for something.  I will tell you, confessions aside, that the only real connection I have found is a change in the weather.  It is true, when the seasons change I tend to have the darned things more often.  Yet I have enough insight into the ‘facts of life’ to know that the weather in and of itself cannot be the sole reason for my infliction.  I have considered that my maternal grandmother suffered, occasionally, from migraines and my daughter does as well.  Did I hear the call of “Genetics”?  Blah Blah Blah…what a boring subject!  I have been having migraines so long now that I am absolutely tired of them as a subject matter!

So let me leave you with the instance of how I came to my title.  For some reason I received, in the mail, a holiday toy catalog.  I do believe it was either for Toys R Us, or Target.  Anyway, as I was perusing through the high gloss, and vibrantly colored pages, I couldn’t help but wonder at the types of toys offered to the wee ones of today.  Monster dolls called, Bratzillas and some other name I have now forgot.  Fairies called, “Good vs. Evil Fairies”.  Party Girls dolls, or in other words (mine in fact), super skinny dolls with multicolored hair and loads of makeup on the face.  A family game which involved handcuffs, and a game which seemed to award the art of lying.  And as I sat there, jaw dropped open and mind in wonderment at why these types of toys are sought after, it hit me, “Oh Crap, I am getting old!”  No it isn’t so much my age in number that is showing signs of the natural progression (according my family lineage I will hit middle age in another 15 to 20 years), it is the sign that I am losing touch with that which sparks the fire of the, younger-than-me, young.  Oiy Vay!

Yes folks, I have been away from the computer for a couple of weeks now and with my quick appearance I leave you this tidbit morsel of nothing…sweet as it may be, it is still nothing.  But tomorrow brings a new attempt at fighting the beast of my head (and eyes) and with my new approach, I am hopeful to have the physical ability, once again, to write in a manner more connected to that which I wish to say…without the pressure of pain sitting in the director’s seat.  Crossing my fingers and such.

Adieu

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