Stories about my friend, Lisa. Baruch Dayan HaEmet. Lisa, of blessed memory, died last night, finishing second day Passover, almost Erev Shabbat, April 10, 2009, 15 Nissan 5769. 6:40 PM. Counting of the Omer, Day one, Chesed she b'Chesed. Lisa, 28 years my senior, was my friend for about 25 years, living two houses away, down the hill. We laughed alot together, and I will miss her. Lisa is now with her beloved Joe, z'l, and her parents, z'l whom she respected and loved so very much...

Saturday, April 11, 2009

MY FRIEND, LISA. Lisa has moved.

Photos of Lisa in her pool.

~ Joy

March 25, 2008

Lisa has moved.
No one told me.

When I called Lisa's son's house today, I said that I just called Lisa and because no one was answering, I walked over to see Lisa. Her health was good, I knew from last week's medical appointment, so I did not think she had a doctor appointment, and it was earlier in the day than a family visit to take her out, so where was Lisa? And no caregiver answered the phone.

Since I was away for the weekend, I was so excited to see the purple soft wisteria all in bloom at Lisa's house, and a succulent birthing a huge baby by her front door.
I knew that these would thrill Lisa. We are both gardeners and in love with G*d's garden.

They moved Lisa yesterday, and did not tell me.
I feel really sad about that.

Reminds me of when my dear, close, elderly friend, Ruth, z'l died in a local Alzheimers' facility, and her family did not tell me. Last summer the Smith children moved their elderly parents from the neighborhood to Denver and did not tell me, their long-term good friend and former neighbor for 25 years.

This is a loss for me. My friend Lisa is gone. Gone as my neighbor for maybe 25 years. Gone from the very intimate honest conversations we shared. Gone is her short-term memory. Will she even remember her home? She remembers her overseas childhood. Will she remember to call me? She always remembers the love of my daughter for her and for her husband, Joe, z'l, and how my husband, z'l concerned about her health, had medically helped her, taking her to the hospital and staying with her.

I just bought a new swimming suit to wear in Lisa's pool come summer, one of the greatest treats of my life is to swim in her pool. I would skip every other activity to swim with Lisa. A "machaiyah" we would always say, and a blessing. Gone now is that also. No more seasonal pink and blue 'noodles', swim toys for me to buy for Lisa. (Lisa used to go to Palm Desert to a favorite old spa called "Machaiyah.")

I wrote a story last summer about swimming with Lisa. Why did I think then that it was a 'eulogy' of sorts? The story was filled with joy of our moments together laughing and telling stories every day to each other.

How could the family not have told me?
I called today and asked the son, "Where is Lisa?"
"We moved her yesterday," was his answer.
I asked if they were going to tell me. "Yes," he answered, "later today."

He advised me in speaking to Lisa, to "be positive."
"I'm telling this to everyone," he said.
Everyone, I'm not everyone.

Lisa thought of me as a daughter. She confided in me, more than with anyone, she said to me. I spoke of Lisa yesterday at a conference where I was presenting, when we were sharing thoughts about "age-ing." I said that my friend (Lisa) said I should dye my hair because it is grey, because she cared for me, she said, and did not want me to look old. Strangely, I felt so uncomfortable when bringing up my friend. She was probably moving at that moment.

I was getting the idea last week that a move might be the issue in question. Last week as we discussed options I knew about, Lisa asked if I would drive her to one of them, to see if she wanted to move there. A "Residential Care Facility for the Elderly," a lovely private Kosher home, owned by warm Israeli women. I told her that I probably better not, because I did not want her family to think I was "interfering."

I did that once for my friend, Ruth, and it was not appreciated by her family, who finally did 'place' her. (My MBA is in Long-Term Care Management, and I was a medical social worker, and also Caregiver Angel Warrior for my husband, z'l for many years.)

Two weeks ago, I drove Lisa to the Sisterhood meeting at her shul to hear an author speaking about her book, "Rashi's Daughters". People were very happy to see Lisa. I wonder if Hadassah members from her other organization will pick Lisa up from the elderly facility and bring her to book club.

I am sad. This is a loss for me. True, Lisa is only three miles away, but she is no longer my neighbor any more to spontaneously run down to see, and to walk with, talk to, and visit.

I'm glad that last week I read to her in person one of my poems that has been published. Not that she'll even remember; she did not the minute after I read it. She does not remember the next day that I saw her the day before, and thinks I've "been away for three weeks."

Couple weeks ago I left a message for Lisa's family to tell them that I found a really cute water fountain for her yard, that Lisa would like. (I did not hear back from her family.) Lisa was looking forward to getting a fountain for her birthday, she told me last Chanukah. "Why wait?" I asked. "Enjoy it now." (She had really wanted a deer garden sculpture for a couple years and did not get that.) We looked around her property to see where she would enjoy having the fountain. Last week Lisa alluded to the fact that this was not the time for the fountain, nor the expense, there were other plans. She wanted to tell me something about this plan, and nervously felt it had to be contained as "confidential."

One night last week, Lisa asked me to visit because she was "depressed." Quickly, I ran right over. Lisa was concerned about her daughter's new husband who was having vision problems. Was this the cause of "depression"? Was it because she needed "more activities"? Was it because she knew she would be leaving her beautiful large home, her sanctuary of 25 years and moving to a single room in a senior facility?

She blamed it all on the fact that last fall she had to give up driving. That was a really hard time for Lisa. Tonight is the eve of Lisa's 89th birthday. I had chosen and bought all these cute garden play things, sculptures-- a turtle (her current favorite theme) and a happy colorful flying creature, that Lisa likes for her garden (she loves all the other garden creatures I have gifted her and they make her smile), and new rose pruners to give to her on her birthday tomorrow, March 26th. I had already given new garden tools and hose nossles to the caregivers to make their lives easier.

I wonder if when Lisa is 120, if they will even tell me of her funeral.

I know that with this move, there will be more people for Lisa to meet, and more activities for her to have. She can listen to lectures and occasional live piano music. This is good.

The food will be better than the meals that I saw her caregivers prepare for her; the same boxed container dried noodle soup every night, and packaged sliced formed deli meats (when it wasn't prepared grocery chicken), and soggy frozen vegetables. I hope at the new facility they don't serve Lisa foods against her religion; and she won't even know the difference and that is troubling. Lisa was truly pleased following a religious retreat we had gone to, when she gave up traif foods for kosher-style.

I would pick up Lisa and take her out to eat to many restaurants and we had good meals, which I know she also had at her family's homes. At least I had taken Lisa out for yummy meals. For our birthdays we took each other out for Chinese lunch. On one of our last evening fish meals out, we had fun speaking to a woman Harley biker.

I watched Lisa very carefully and took the best care of her in and out of the car and everywhere. Lisa and I enjoyed everything we did together when I would take her out and she was always ready for a spin.

Here Lisa will have three good meals a day, just NOT sitting at her own little table in her beautiful lush green garden that she loves so much. The garden is filled with many beautiful flowers and plants that I have given to Lisa and planted, and she has multiplied them with her 'green thumb' although she says it's all in the good dirt and her gardener Kay's skill. That's a whole story in itself. She says he loves her because she gave a doll to his young daughter many years ago.

I am so glad that I took lots of photos of Lisa last summer swimming in her pool.

I am sad.

In sadness,

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Joy Serves G*d in Joy as a passionate performing percussionist, poet, publisher, photographer, publicist, sound healer, spiritual guide, artist, gardener and Gemini. "Ivdu Et Hashem B'Simcha" -Psalm 100:2 ....... Joy Krauthammer, active in the Jewish Renewal, Feminist, and neo-Chasidic worlds for over three decades, kabbalistically leads Jewish women's life-cycle rituals. ... Workshops, and Bands are available for all Shuls, Sisterhoods, Rosh Chodeshes, Retreats, Concerts, Conferences & Festivals. ... My kavanah/intention is that my creative expressive gifts are inspirational, uplifting and joyous. In gratitude, I love doing mitzvot/good deeds, and connecting people in joy. In the zechut/merit of Reb Shlomo Carlebach, zt'l, I mamash love to help make our universe a smaller world, one REVEALING more spiritual consciousness, connection, compassion, and chesed/lovingkindness; to make visible the Face of the Divine... VIEW MY COMPLETE PROFILE and enjoy all offerings.... For BOOKINGS write: joyofwisdom1 at, leave a COMMENT below, or call me. ... "Don't Postpone Joy" bear photo montage by Joy. Click to enlarge. BlesSings, Joy