Audio here; http://soundcloud.com/galenafamily/ayelet-galenas-funeral
Rabbi Yosie Levine - Rabbi of the Jewish Center
Rabbi Reuben Poupko - Grandfather of Ayelet & Rabbi of Beth Israel/Beth Aaron Cong.in Montreal
Hindy Poupko Galena - Ayelet’s Mom (minute 15:40)
Seth Galena - Ayelet’s Dad (minute 23:01)
Rabbi Yosie Levine
Cantor Chaim David Berson
Text from Seth's speech:
Seth Galena Speech – Ayelet’s Funeral
Yesterday, when we knew it was time to say goodbye, they disconnected all the wires from our Ayelet and we got to hold her in final moments, sobbing saying her final Shema, telling our baby the hardest thing in the world, it’s OK Ayelet, you can let go you can go shluffy, we are so proud of you…. I even got to break into one of my goofy Friendly-Friend hair-brained songs that many of you know, I realized:
Ayelet has accomplished more in the 2 years than most of us will do in a lifetime.
I was holding in my arms, this broken little body, a huge soul, a light, a blessing who took her two painful heartbreaking years and used them to the max. Touching us all.
My greatest claim to fame, my badge of courage will now be: I am Ayelet Galena’s dad.
Luckily I did not need to go on this journey or get this badge on my own. When Ayelet originally got home from the hospital, after being born 2 months early, and spending 7 weeks in the hospital I stupidly created a photo album titled “We have no idea what we are doing”.
But, this was actually only directed at me.
My partner in this, my other precious deer, Hindy, knew exactly what she was doing. As soon as Ayelet was diagnosed, and we moved to transplant, Hindy , almost over night, learned more about medicine and transplant than most doctors. The relationship was this: Hindy was the coach strategizing meds and courses of action for every doctor every specialty, and nurse and I was the cheerleader, or with my greensweater and hat a mascot, making up songs and games to entertain our friendly friend, our cowie mcow. She would talk in medical jargon and I would type in 5th grade jargon, trying to understand 1/60 of what she was saying. I think this may be why the blog was so successful.
But she was absolutely determined, like her Poupko Panar Fisher parents and grandparents before her, be a selfless ambassador for our daughter. Now you know where Ayelet’s stubbornness and courage comes from.
My second badge of honor:I am Hindy Poupkos Husband.
By the way, many people think we are courageous or brave. But the only strength we had was realizing we could not do this alone, we needed help. We reached out, through the blog, through facebook, and it is everyone in this room’s strength who kept us going. Pumping positivity into a hopeless situation.
But aside from Ayelet’s courage and bravery origins, she also had rare social and emotional wisdom for a 2yr old.
I remember one night coming off a long plane late night and rushing to the hospital to find a dark room of lights and Hindy “Fake Sleeping” (as good wives do) with Ayelet in arms. Ayelet was not easy to put to sleep. I quietly crept in, but as soon as I came closer I accidentally tripped and almost fell, and all I heard was what I think could be described as a wild giggle. I turned on a light, and Ayelet was sitting up wide awake taking her thumb out of her mouth, giggling at her dad. She was waiting up for her daddy’s show to begin. I loved my audience of one. Sufficed to say Hindy was not pleased.
Ayelet showed emotional maturity when it came to something else: music. When Bubbie Arna or Hindy would ever sing a song – and they have bad voices - usually it was “These are a few of my favorite things.” Ayelet would look at me, look at Margaret, like saying is anyone else hearing that? Then try and hide her face as she slowly began to pout which turned to a frown, and then like clockwork, moved by the music, would burst into tears. Hindy was said to do this when she was a girl as well. The music would overwhelm her and she tried sadly to hold back her tears. To be strong for her parents. But her tears were heartbreaking every time, and showed such depth, such emotion.
And she was so strong. All she knew in her life was pain, and yet she still found ways to play and laugh and snuggle. For this I am blessed that she feels no more pain.
Her first toys were medical bottles, and she got used to holding them and peeling off the labels. Label peeling turned to sticker peeling, and Ayelet had such joy from the stickers that as soon as we told you about it, miraculously stickers arrived from Israel, Montreal, Cincinnati and New York.
She also found other toys and joy in her hospital life. By this I refer to straws. For her second birthday I found a website that sells direct to restaurants and bought 5000 individullay straws for $20. I had them ordered and she made a complete mess that day, unwrapping dozens of sorts of Straws. As pirkei avos says Who is rich? Someone who is happy with what she has. Makes the best out of everything. Finding a playground in a hospital hell.
This was my daughter.
Ayelet’s name means Deer, after her grandfather, my father, who I know is dancing with her and teaching her how to run a half marathon. He too was taken early.
There is an interesting medrash that says that after God created to world, he showed Adam his future plans for the world. Adam saw a dazzling soul and asked who that was. God said that is David, aka King David, but his soul is too strong and would only live a few hours. Adam said he would give him 70 yrs of his life to see what David can do with them. David, as we all know, became king, took on Goliath, changed the Jewish nation and the way we pray forever.
In my weird interpretation of this medrash, I fashion this same conept with my Dad and Ayelet. He gave her 2 years of his life, and said, let’s see what she can do with them. And like David, Ayelet changed our little nation, and battled her own Goliath. And she did not back down.
Ayelet’s name refers to Ayelet Hashachar. The morning star. It also means
Ayelet was brilliantly able to communicate without words. My first connection as a dad with Ayelet was when I would pick her up and I would ask her “Which Way” and she would point and I would be her personal chauffer walking around the small room that was her world. She would direct me , she would be in charge. She was always in control and yesterday she told us it’s her time to say goodbye.
She has always been and always will be my morning star. My guiding light. I will always ask Which Way Ayelet, and I know she will be with me to guide us along this narrow bridge of a life. We will not fear. I Love You Ayelet