The month of Av is a month to acknowledge suffering, pain, comfort and hope.
Av means father, and often the name Menachem is added to the month of Av with the meaning to comfort, to console thus compassion.
This month I have witnessed suffering, pain, compassion and hope in the Hematology Day Department at Hadassah/Mount Scopus.
There is a sense of community, supporting, comforting, and sharing compassion. Patient to patient, staff to patient, and family members to one another.
I worked with a patient named Majed, someone who was in pain both physically and in his heart and soul. Majed was able to share both verbally and through some collage and drawing work his fear and sadness about the fact that he knew would die soon. But he also was able to express his compassion to others, and to create an ethical will of hope for his children and grandchildren.
In the first collage the lion, and Ibex, he chose to express strength, courage and also compassion, compassion to the animals, compassion to himself and to others. These are his words: one must have compassion for everyone all human beings and all the animals (2/7/16)
The second work he drew, his home, a home with an open door, windows. Slowly he added two different trees, and when I asked where he was in the picture he said he was not there at all. Slowly he added himself, a body of water with two others. Then the birds, sky and sun . We discussed, we sat in silence, we breathed to feel the pain, comfort and love.
Majed died on 31-07-16, so now he is no longer suffering.
May the month of Av be a time for all of us to be present when needed with those that need comfort, and support through their suffering, fears and with the hope that we have in Haverut a ‘tool box’ of music, text, prayer, silence, and community to be like a father and a mother who comforts and shows compassion.