Letters to Tuvia #1


Dear T,

It’s Sunday night and we haven’t spoken since Friday morning. At  12:30 just as I was beginning a yogurt for lunch and you were immersed in the NY Times, and Ami clicked away productively at the dining room table.  It seems so long ago but really just the beginning of the weekend.

Then, in seconds the perfect end of summer morning exploded and you went into cardiac arrest.  I watched your face contort as I yelled for Ami to come and hold you as I shook and tapped 9-1-1… for help!

Ami, is he still here????

Where are they????

And then the ambulances, the police cars… descended on our peace. I was moved out of the kitchen, my phone and yogurt on the table pushed to the windows, to allow for floor space to work on you… the loud announcement of the step- by-step CPR directions… Ami moved in and out of the kitchen, watching.

I couldn’t.  I answered questions  to professionally dressed strangers as best I could, gave up your cards for your information and soon you were moving out of our home  and we were following together in my car, leaving a mess on the kitchen floor that I wanted to stay behind and clean up, but no, we were moving and I was shaking but cool headed.

Seveta met me to grab a hug but I wanted to move with you.  Where was Valley Hospital?  My navigation, Ami’s navigation.  So close and I never knew just where this place was. There was no way that they would agree to take you to your familiar Englewood Hospital.  Too far, too risky.

We arrived,  parked in the first open space,  raced into the main entrance and followed the signs to the emergency room.  Lots of conversation inside your cubicle… some joking for sanity,  and work on your body continued with this new medical team.
Doctors came and went asking questions, offering information and we received  it all in motion.

I was cool…unemotional

We moved out, waited just outside, frustrated without the usual smooth cell phone service. Valley’s cardiologist wanted to give you a temporary PaceMaker.  I knew something about them, watching HIlda get hers at Nyack Hospital, remember?  No big deal… to regulate your low heart beat… right?

Doctors explained the next set of plans for you.  You were still alive. e still clinging to life even though, if you were conscious you might have been refusing all of this, preferring that perfect opportunity to exit life poetically, before the crowds descended on us.   But it was too late, we were bent on keeping you with us.  With your dignity in tact, of course.

But given this process of taking on the trauma when you stopped breathing to bring you back as close to our Tuvia as possible it was time for a rest. 24 hours to cool the body, 24 hours to slowly warm you back up and 24 more to bring you back to normal and we had to wait. Suspended in silence. .  Not at the hospital. That make no sense.  I was invited to share my cell phone and receive a number direct to your nurse in the Cardiac Care Center.  A 24/7 hot line.

.  Ami and I left you when  we were sure you were settled into a good room in the CCunit with your own nurse and doctor monitoring the machines you were hooked up to. We returned home.  Ami cleaned up the kitchen, I packed a bag,  to join the family in Hoboken for the night, maybe two.

And for those next two days I was cool, leveled headed during the day, napping, texting, napping at night.  missing your voice.

For the first time in 20 years,


But I was cool. Cool, until this morning as I walked with Leora back to my car to return home to Paramus, to meet Nancy Letts for coffee at our diner in Tarrytown, and then return  to our home to wait for Ami and visit you at the hospital.

I was defrosting.  My cool head,; my exploding heart now taking over and I was shaking and tearing up as I slowly crossed the tZ Bridge and I wondered if I could make it home.  I was so tired, so tired.  My head, my eyes hurt.

Ami picked me up in the late afternoon and we visited the unit and saw you more peaceful but fighting to breathe for yourself.  Love that about you.  A warrior actually for life.

Please Tuvia as they bring you out of the deep sleep come back to us. Please stay longer.

Miss you my love.  Miss you.


Bonnie Shuram



10 thoughts

  1. Dear Bonnie, I’m so sorry for this, know some of what you’ve gone through, and send you a big hug, but prayers for Tuvia and you, too. You’ll be in my thoughts this day.

  2. Your two letters just arrived in my inbox, I am so sorry to read this news. I am praying that today wil. Bring you good news. You are so eloquent in your writing. You are in my thoughts and prayers friend.

  3. Bonnie, I’m praying for Tuvia and for you. How scary for you both. I do love that you have your writing to sustain you and this community to support you.

  4. Bonnie,
    I feel so much for you right now. I am so sorry for your loss. I feel privledged to have gotten to know Tuvia and have shared good times with you both.
    I am sure you will share many more stories about Tuvia with us here, as you always have, keeping his legacy alive.
    Please know that you have much love and support directed your way.

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