Rabbi Jennifer T. Kaluzny / hospice patient Carol Kaplan
Recently we had a chance to join Rabbi Jennifer Kaluzny from Jewish Hospice & Chaplaincy Network as she visited with Carol Kaplan, a patient that the Rabbi has been helping with a wide range of end of life issues.
If you met Carol, you would not know that she is fighting terminal Hodgkins Lymphoma.
She proudly tells us she is starting a gourmet marshmallow company and shows us some of her creations. Carol has lived life to its fullest, which is so evident from her surroundings that are filled with treasures of her memorable encounters. You can't help but smile as Carol, a one-time research scientist, published poet and humanitarian, captivates our imagination with her worldly adventures.
When asked is she is scared to die, Carol almost seemed excited that when she told us about the love of her life, Bosco, her most loved male presence who is no longer with her.
You see...Bosco was her service dog, a majestic Rhodesian Ridgeback. Several years ago Carol had broken her back. This is when Bosco stepped into her life. The relationship quickly grew and Carol and Bosco became a very touching and loving team. Bosco recently passed away and Carol deeply misses him.
So, back to that question, "Are you scared of dying?" Carol quickly said, "No, I'm looking forward to it. I know Bosco will be there to greet me and we will be together once again."
Our Dear Rabbi, who, besides attending to community members and families who are in need of hospice support, also is a Rabbi at Temple Israel. "The time I have spent with Carol has enriched my life so much." That's quite a statement from someone who has helped Carol on so many levels, from navigating the medical insurance industry to open discussion about spirituality.
Rabbi Jennifer said as we left Carol's house, "In life you just never know when you're going to meet someone who will enable you to look at life differently. Carol has done that for me. I'm honored to be able to be a part of her final journey of this worldly life."
We should all be so lucky to have a Rabbi Jennifer in our life when our end is near.