Saturday, January 8, 2011

Move me to tears

Last night was a beautiful night. Rabbi Kinberg hosted a small shabbat service in mom's room, where we were joined by a small group of friends and family. Mom had on her colorful flower hat, and blue scarf. I found so much joy in hearing her singing along with the prayers, and even singing some harmonies. She was enjoying herself thoroughly. Towards the end of the service, Rabbi Kinberg led us in the Mi sheberakh, a prayer for healing:

May the source of strength who blessed the ones before us, help us find the courage to make our lives a blessing.

It was here when my mom began to cry:
Bless those in need of healing with the renewal of body, the renewal of spirit

Unlike Aynsley, I had not seen my mom cry once since before the diagnosis. I knew though, in that room, surrounded by loved ones, she was not sad. She could feel our love, our hope, our presence, our prayers, and it moved her to tears. She has been moved by every small act of kindness, from people she sees everyday, to people she has not heard from in decades. And everything seemed to add up to an overwhelming appreciation for her life that was too big to contain. And so she wept.

She asked me earlier to play guitar during the service, and after the Mi sheberakh, I took out my guitar and began to play. As soon as I started, I felt her hand press against my back, and once again, she began to cry. This time it was louder and heavier. It was uncontainable, like a river jumping its banks, free to create a new channel for itself. When I finished playing she was still crying. "I am just so grateful for everyone" she said.

Last night was the first time I truly realized the strength my mom has to carve out a new direction for her life. Every good deed and thought you have sent our way is a drop of water, and my mom is a mighty river that is untameable, unmeasurable and growing larger still.

This morning my mom had a cat scan to see where else cancer might be in her body. This test was to see if cancer has spread to her lungs and liver. Speaking for myself, I have been dreading these results for weeks. But I am happy to report that there is no cancer in Flynne Kirshenbaum's lungs and liver. This is the best news we have received! Now, we can focus clearly on mom's number one, main goal: getting her eyesight back. She has said she plans on doing this in the next couple of days. As soon as she does, I am shaving off my beard.

thank you everyone.


  1. What great news! Thanks for sharing Ross.I have been and will continue to say a Mi Shebeirach everyday for your amazing Mom and my dear friend Flynne Kirshenbaum

    Much love,
    Donna Fishman

  2. Ross,

    You are as eloquent as your sister.

    Thanks for sharing such good news!

    Amy Dedrickson

  3. Ross

    This is just the best news! I feel like shouting it from the rooftop, but I will have to be content to run upstairs and wake up my sleeping husband!!

    Now...we are patiently waiting to see a clean shaven Ross!

    Much love and big hugs to Flynne!

    Take care
    Elsie Moffet

  4. First and most important, WHAT GREAT NEWS! Thank goodness that the test showed what we all wanted to hear! Flynne Kirshenbaum is a fighter - I hope we can all continue to build on this good news. Ross, I haven't seen you since you were a very young guy (you didn't have a beard when we last saw each other) - at this moment, I have to tell you that I can't wait until you shave your beard!!!!

    I also have to agree with Amy - you are as eloquent as Aynsley - although with all due respect, you didn't use the word "succulents".....

    Flynne: Marci also told me about the Shabbat service on Friday night - she said it was a very special night. Given Marci's and Ross's descriptions, I felt like I was there with you all sharing that time together. You will get through this, and when you do, you will always know that you have an amazing family and friends who love you very much. That's a gift as important as anything else in the world.

    Congratulations on the Seahawks win yesterday! I would imagine that you could hear the celebration while you were outside for a while yesterday. So glad you got out for a little while.

    I hope today is another good day. Take care and let's stay on a good path.

    Love, Me

  5. WOW! What a great report! And what a beautiful Shabbat you had. Singing is great medicine. As is a good cry. Ross, I must say, your descriptive writing moved me to tears.
    I, too, was at a Shabbat dinner where we all sent you positive and healing energy. I wish I was there to give you all a big hug, but I'll have to ask Marci to stand in for me! I don't think she'll mind!
    I'm so looking forward to more good news and a photo of a clean shaven Ross!
    Until then, stay strong. Know you are loved by many who wish you more sunny days ahead.
    much love,

  6. Aynsley and Ross,

    We have been following your mom's progress since we heard from Barby and Howie last week about her diagnosis. Thank you for your willingness to share with us. These posts are incredibly moving and I find myself waking up each morning and reading your posts before I read my own email.

    We are praying for Flynne and thinking about her and all of you often. We have the fondest memories of your entire family. Please send our best wishes to your Mom and Dad... and know that all of the Boehlers are rooting for you.

    ... and thank you again for sharing this journey with us.

    With much love,

    Robin and Stephen Boehler (and Lindsay, Emily and Sara)

  7. Dear Flynne, Ross, Aynsley and Bob,
    It is such a great help to read this blog and to know how strong your love and support are for each other, and from the huge circle of loving friends. I am overjoyed at the good news of the CT scan, very hopeful that the treatment will be effective. It is such a huge change in your lives to be facing all this together. Flynne has been heroic in the face of all the challenges, and it is also a time of very deep feelings. Thank God that she can find spiritual comfort with your support and that her feelings can be openly shared and tapped as a source of strength, and an expression of her deep humanity and love for you all.
    With love and gratitude for sharing this journey,
    Melissa Upton Cyders

  8. Thinking of you all and sending you love and prayers. I have know and loved Flynn ever since we were roommates in college and it's a joy to know she is as loved today as she was then

    Eileen (weinfield) Goltz

  9. Dearest Flynne,
    I want you to know you are in my daily thoughts and prayers. I read this blog nightly and cheer on your every victory...While it's true that cancer is a loathsome beast, you my fearless friend, with your determined dignity, and magnificent grace are one hell of a fierce competitor! I have been so very touched by the eloquence and admiration that both Aynsley and Ross write with in these blogs...but I guess it doesn't come as any surprise that they would be such obviously well spoken and loving people...They are after all the children of Flynne and Bob.... and speaking of the blog...Ross wrote something a while back about holding a healthy image of you in mind to give you strength. Well kiddo I haven't seen you let me tell you how I DO see you....I see that tremendous warm inviting smile as you typically bound across a room to greet me when I come in for my yearly pilgrimage to visit Ellen..It's now extended to Ellen and the "Seattle Buddies"...and make no mistake..You and Bob are very much a special part of those visits for me. I see us all laughing on the boat, then YOU jumped in to show us that yes indeed wake boarding could be done after the age of 30...YOU ROCK!!!and (after the neck surgery) I remember saying...hey if I fall in I want Flynne to jump in after me...and I think about you windsurfing near Ellen's dock while we cheered you on...I am seeing nothing but you as a vibrant, dynamic woman...and though you may not be feeling that way physically...or looking the part...that IS who you are! If my seeing it helps in any way...terrific..but truth is you are a dynamo to the core! Flynne, like I said, you really are a wonderful part of my Seattle visits...and as we both know Ellen too is a wonderful and generous much so she's willing to share :-) I refuse to only see you as a friend of my friend...a friend by are so amazing that I'm afraid I must claim you in your own just plain "friend" You are such a special person and I am in awe of your courage...I am send all my love and deepest prayers for healing to you.
    Bob..You too are an incredible, wonderful person who I always look forward to seeing when I come to visit...and Aynsley and Ross I am impressed with you both beyond words
    All my love,