Felling and Falling

Felling and falling? Is there a relationship between the two?

I FELL in love with my wife, with the birth of my three children, with the birth of my three grandchildren, and yes….. I even fell in love with our several dogs: Ouzi, a champion German Shephard, Moco a delightful Doberman, Justice a proper name for my lawyer daughter’s beloved dog, and Atara Carmit, our 6 year old female Kalba Knaanit which we bought from the kennels at Shaar Hagai, Jerusalem.

It is very easy to fall in love with people, ideas, animal pets, and things that bring joy into our lives.

FALLING however is a completely different matter. For some time I have had a severe problem with my walking. I suffer from what my doctor informs me is lack of shivui mishkal, control of balance.

My feet have minds of their own, When I want to turn left my feet turn right and so too is it in the opposite direction. The pain is excruciating from upper to lower back, to thighs and legs. It is agony for me to attempt to get out of bed or to get in and out of my car. I have no leverage, no way of pulling myself up. The same is for a chair. After sitting comfortably I am not able to get up without the support of my cane or without grabbing a piece of furniture to hold and assist me in standing up

I have often fallen in my home, fortunately on carpeted floors which make the fall less painful and the ease of grasping at a table or a sofa enables me to slowly lift myself up. Being alone makes is somewhat more difficult.

My daughter, the physical therapist and my son, the doctor, have for the past few years urged me to go for physical therapy. I had gone some five years ago and after many sessions, the improvement was minimal.

Bending down to pick up a fallen object is nigh impossible without a fall. the synagogue, bending the knees at specific passages in the Amidah and Aleinu prayers is an effort and without holding firmly to the chair in front of me, I would soon be lying on the floor.

Outside I usually walk with my cane which honestly is of little help to me. When I fall, the cane falls with me.

On Thursday of the past week, I drove 45 minutes to the cemetery to visit and to pray at my beloved wife’s grave. While bending low to the ground to find small stones on which to place upon her tombstone, I did a 100% severe fall on the adjacent concrete walkway injuring my head, my back, my legs and feet. I was in severe pain and completely unable to move anything except my hands

I tried to raise myself up but there was nothing to grab hold of to help in pulling myself up. I lay on the cold concrete for almost half hour screaming for help. But no one was near the place where I lay on the cemetery grounds

I was able to reach for my cellphone and I called my daughter in her law office. Explaining that I was completely lying prostrate, unable to move and in severe pain, I begged her to telephone the cemetery office to send help.

A very short time later, a workman at the cemetery arrived, lifted me up after three attempts and carried me back to my car.

I was in shock and the pain was severe. Fortunately nothing was broken and the pains were due to the bruises from my head to toe fall. Nothing serious.

I successfully made the return 45 minute drive home still badly shaken up. But before I left the cemetery, I shouted to my wife in her grave, “My darling, I FELL in love with you many years ago and today I FELL again.
But while still loving you, I promise not to try falling at your grave site again.”

My son recommended pain-killing tablets and complete bed rest. My daughter provide me with a tube of essential oils used for relieving pain and suffering from careless accidents such as I had endured.

Rubbing it in and massaging all areas of my bruised body, in one day 90 % of my aches and pains had disappeared.
Now there arose a new family argument. My daughters insisted on buying me a medic alert neck chain with a button to push in order to obtain immediate help in the event of further accidents. I have refused to wear one and urged them not to waste money on something I did not want.

Adjectives flew. Abba, ata akshan. Stubborn father. Tembel. Dummy. “It’s for your protection and security and for our comfort in knowing that if you fell again, help would be immediate in coming”.

Their love and devotion has no bounds. Neither, it seems, does my stubbornness. And as I told my children “at my age I can be stubborn” at which they laughed and said “abba, you have been stubborn all your life. Zeh lo davar chadash”. It’s nothing new.

Leopards cannot change their spots and I find it near impossible to change my foolish mind.
The one thing I did agree to is that I would never attempt to visit the grave alone, but only in the protective custody of one of my family.

I FELL in love with my young bride for 56 years and I FELL over her again last week.

Jokingly I remarked to my younger daughter: “Look how much money I have saved you. If I had died at the cemetery you would not have to pay so much of the funeral costs. There would be no need to transport my body to the cemetery. I will already be there”.

She was not laughing. But silently inside of me, only God could hear my laughter.

It seems that there is a very distinct meaning to the words FELLING and FALLING. But on this occasion, both words were in the right place.

About the Author
Esor Ben-Sorek is a retired professor of Hebrew, Biblical literature & history of Israel. Conversant in 8 languages: Hebrew, Yiddish, English, French, German, Spanish, Polish & Dutch. Very proud of being an Israeli citizen. A follower of Trumpeldor & Jabotinsky & Begin.
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