Ari left us yesterday at 2 pm, some 7 months after he came to help give care to Bernie. Give care, as in just giving freely from one’s heart, not take care. Taking care implies greater dependence by the other person; also included there is caution.
Ari gave Bernie care all this time, primarily exercising with him, learning all about Feldenkreis and Taub’s constraint-induced therapy. He made Bernie’s therapy his own, took our books home to read. He read Moshe Feldenkreis’s book aloud to Bernie, together they looked at Dan Siegel’s Mindsight and discussed possible meeting points with Zen, especially the Three Tenets.
Giving care has something to do with companionship, listening deeply to what the other person loves and needs, entering and inhabiting that landscape rather than the usual one—my own.
Ari has been instrumental in helping Bernie go from stumbling along on his legs to walking upright with a cane and without. He has watched Bernie begin to cut his own food on the plate using his right hand, a very recent development. He has told Bernie I can’t listen to you, you’re talking with your left hand, as we all have, which is what happens when Bernie forgets to use his right hand and begins to gesture and gesticulate with his left.
And Ari has been part of our home. Fill the birdfeeders, take Stanley to his romps with Leeann and other dogs, make a terrific Mediterranean salad. People come and go through the front door; Stanley opens one eye, says Oh, it’s you, and goes back to sleep. Unless they start cooking in the kitchen.
In the weekends there’s no Ari, no Rami, no Jessie (who now works for Rami), just the two of us with the dog. There’s more privacy, and also narrower landscapes, a kind of social poverty. Comes Monday morning, the front door opens downstairs even as I’m already at work in my office upstairs, someone says softly Good morning!, and the week begins.
As it will begin next week, too, but without Ari, who’s also pursuing other lines of education and work. A lovely woman will be with us instead, but I won’t identify her in this blog without her permission.