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Monday, 20 January 2014

The Book

It was a few months after Mom died; I had on-going flashbacks of the last few moments of her life and really missed her terribly.  Though not unexpected, when Mom died in my arms it was still a shock.  Now we were headed from New York to Las Vegas to meet Claire, Ben and his family.  We really looked forward to the second part of this much needed vacation.

Always the avid reader, I settled into the mystery novel which had me so riveted that I was oblivious to the others settling into their seats around me.  Rick and I were in the window and middle seats.

After the obligatory emergency demonstrations and then my compulsive looks for exits, I noticed the woman in the aisle seat next to me.  She appeared to be around my age and held a book in her lap as she rested her head on the seat, eyes closed.  I settled into the book again, engrossed. 

About an hour into the flight, as Rick slept, I looked up again to notice the book my seat-mate was reading.  I could see the text, another language obviously, which she read back to front.  Interesting!  I waited for an opportunity to speak to her.

She looked up within a few minutes and I asked what language she was reading. 

"Hebrew," was the answer.   

She probably thought I was crazy because I was so excited when she told me she was an Israeli, from Tel Aviv.  Growing up in Newfoundland, I had no opportunity to meet an Israeli.  I had known relatively few Jewish people in fact, just a few friends at the University of Ottawa when I studied there.  I was very happy to meet her.

Her English was good so we talked at length about her life and mine.  She was a widow with three grown children who were living in various places around the world at this point in their lives, after each had served in the Israeli military.  Her husband had died of cancer when her children were young so she raised them with the help of her widowed mother, who had recently died.  She too was grieving her mother.  

We talked about our mothers, their strengths, their devotion to family and faith, and although we were two women from such different cultures, we both had the great privilege of having wonderful mothers.  We each cried a little as we chatted and it was good to be with someone who completely understood.

We went our separate ways. Maybe it was because of the vacation, or a myriad of other reasons, but the flashbacks stopped after that day.  Isn't it amazing how people will come into your life, just when you need them?  Just look up from your book.

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