Although I am an only child, my mother had thousands of children, all loved and cared for by her. They affectionately called her “Deenush, our Angel in White.” Remember the times nurses wore all-white uniforms? That’s why they called them “Angels in White.”
Deenush, born Dina Rosjansky – the beautiful young nurse in Municipal Hospital No. 4 in Vilnius, Lithuania, in the Soviet Union, and later the head nurse of the oncology department in Tel Aviv’s Hadassah/Balfour hospital – had dedicated her life and career to taking care of cancer patients, some as young as 3 years old. Cancer does not discriminate; all ages fall under the spell of this mysterious disease.
The pain, the sorrow and the ordeal of the patients, their families and friends were eased by the confidence of Dina’s superb medical knowledge and skillful treatment, and softened by the caring love she bestowed on all.
The warm touch of her strong hand, a reassuring hug, the chicken soup and a sandwich for those waiting all night in the hospital’s corridors to hear the fate of their loved ones made this incredible woman a mother to so many.
Exhausted after 12- to 14-hour workdays, my mother would rush home, often walking 7 miles. She would climb to her fourth-floor apartment, just in time to cook supper and bring a wonderful smile and loving Yiddish greeting – “mein lichteke and tayere kind” (“my bright and dear child”) – to her only child.
Inserting my hand into her handbag, I would always find an apple or an orange, a real treasure in those “good old days” in Vilnius. I knew that she always thought about me.
And as the times changed, modern technology added a high-tech elevator on 45 Kaplansky St. in Givatayim, Israel, but Deenush still enjoyed climbing four floors of stairs to her beautiful apartment No. 10.
Sadly, I lost my beloved mom 10 years ago. Holding her in my arms until, with her last breath, she whispered in Russian, “Ya tiebia ochen’ liubliu” (“I love you very much”), I tearfully parted with the world’s most admired, loving and adoring mother.
On Mother’s Day, as we gather via Zoom with my family for this special festivity, Deenush is and always will be a part of our lives.
Lina Broydo is a longtime Los Altos Hills resident and member of the Rotary Club of Los Altos.