The Hero Within

Joy's Comments
Reprinted from 

 March 1, 2006

The Hero Within, Dr. Melamed-Cohen's story by Sara Yoheved Rigler

Joy Krauthammer wrote: I have new understandings of life.
From Dr. Melamed-Cohen's story by Sara Yoheved Rigler, I have new understandings of life and empathy. 

My husband, Dr. Marcel Krauthammer, zt'l, Menachem Elimelech ben Shulim v'Thea, died a month ago, January 17, 2006 after being in a similar situation to Dr. Melamed-Cohen. Marcel was on life-support with respirator, tracheostomy, feeding tube for the prior six months (NG tube only), paralyzed a few years, but with worsening metastatic brain cancer for almost 18 years. 

From this story I have a recognition and better understanding that my beloved also had his purpose in life, although possibly not knowing it, giving "encouragement and strength". 

Marcel was brave, courageous, defiant, powered by will, hope and faith (Emuna v'Bitachon) in Hashem. Family photos were always facing Marcel. Yes, there was a "rectification, a tikkun", in his and our lives. And Marcel also had his "reasons not to give up." Marcel, too, prayed throughout the day with his siddur until he could no longer hold the book, and then the prayers were in his heart, and he acknowledged to me with a slight nod. I would also pray out loud with Marcel, although he could not talk the last six months. 

Marcel never despaired, he NEVER GAVE UP –only his body. 

Marcel's dream was fulfilled three weeks before going on life-support; and he rode down the aisle to our daughter Aviva's chuppah to Brett. 

As a UCLA Professor of Medicine and ICU Director, Marcel continued to teach from the other side of the bed, all medical staff and visitors during the two dozen hospitalizations and surgeries that he endured. Marcel was awesome, the "Comeback King." 

I decided that Marcel was a 'Vessel of Love' because all that he could do in the final months was to receive all the love given to him from family, friends, colleagues, staff and strangers (my spiritual friends whom he had not known), and we knew it through his eyes. 

Marcel under earlier conditions, was a stand-up to lying-down comedian. In his ICU bed, he made me laugh when he was able to circle and point his index finger to his head and at me as if I was loco, when I was the ventriloquist for his stuffed bear, Oatmeal, always a mascot by his side from ICU to ICU to ICU, and now in Shamayin/Heaven. 

As the month of Adar enters, I send blessings of increased joy to Dr. Melamed-Cohen, and also to author, Sara Rigler, in whose home I had a Shabbat lunch about 15 years ago. From her I met my dearest friend from the Old City, Ruthie Fogelman.

Blessings of joy, shalom and love,
Joy Krauthammer
Northridge, California

~ ~ ~

Marcel's toast video at Wedding of Aviva & Brett

Marcel photos mostly by his photographer wife, Joy

Dr. Marcel Krauthammer, UCLA/VA Pulmonologist, Critical Care Specialist and Gifted Teacher

Garden of Joy, Barlow Hospital
Page 6, right side

HOURS, Difficult story

Marcel drummed one time at Remo
photo by Joy Krauthammer ©

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