Monday, January 31, 2005

Ted's Dilemma

Ted was one of the first people I met when I joined Temple Micah. He holds the distinction of having sung in the choir the longest of any member – 38 years! Ted is around 75. He graduated from Harvard in the days when there was a 10% quota on Jews in each class. He studied English and was a writer for most of his working career, holding some very important speech-writer jobs. Ted organized the Temple Micah ski club and went with the group to Europe each winter for the past 17 years. He volunteers to sing one of the solo parts in Yis’m’chu and always adds his little embellishments that drive Teddy (our choir director) crazy.

Ted and his beautiful wife Suzanne went with us on the Israel trip last spring. He was not well then, being diagnosed with pneumonia upon his return. He hardly missed an event and struggled to keep up with the group. Ever since he fell 18 months ago and cracked a vertebra in his neck, Ted’s health has been somewhat compromised. Recently he has become more and more stooped over. But I don’t think anyone was prepared to learn that Ted has Lou Gehrig’s Disease. For a person of his intelligence and someone who has led such an active life, the diagnosis could not be worse. He may live only two years.

He has come by himself to the last two Shabbat services. I go over and give him a big hug, but I have not been able to tell him how sorry I am to know about his illness. When we do the Mi Shebeirach (healing) prayer each week, I mention Ted’s name. That’s about as far as I get. The dilemma is really Ted’s and Suzanne’s, but it is so difficult for all of us to know what to say and do. I need some inspiration about how to give Ted the support he needs without seeming to pity him.

I can’t conceive of Temple Micah without Ted.

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