Heartaches & Heartstrings

This past week, my world was shaken as I became aware of the loss of a beloved and great man, David Nissimi, David ben Shmuel V’Sarah Nissimi. As I write these words, I still cannot believe that he is no longer with us. David was my best friend Sharona’s father. He embodied this elegant, subtle loving goodness. He was someone who you could really rely on, independent, determined and so steadfast in his loyalty and love. I hear his voice in my mind, “Adinka, Adinka! How is mama?” The way he greeted me when he saw me from the time I was three to twenty eight, always with this incredible warmth and always reminding me of how happy he was to see me.
I have always had my second home at the Nissimi’s and they are the reason, I speak a little Persian, cook Persian food and consider myself an honorary Nissimiha. I cant count the amount of times Sharona and I would sit next to David watching the history channel for the evening. Memories flood my mind of David driving to my house six times in the same day so Sharona and I could play at both of our houses. The Nissimi’s were my back door neighbors for the first 13 years of my life and when we were 13, Sharona, affectionately known as Shushu moved to Thomaston about a 7 minute drive from where we used to live. We did our best to be strong and take the move well and David promised us that we didn’t need to worry about the distance because he would drive as many times as we needed to get together.
More memories come of David making pickles, going to home depot, reading Rabbi Twerski books, making soup. David was an incredible jeweler and I remember my father having David design a setting for my mother. David designed a beautiful setting and added diamonds surrounding the center stone. My mama, having very simple taste and not wanting to upset anyone had the diamonds taken off without telling anyone about it. Years later she needed to have the ring resized and she brought it back to David and this is where the story gets funny. A few days later, David returned the ring beautifully resized and polished with two intricately beautiful diamonds embedded on either side of the opal center stone. My mother loved it. This story always made her smile and it’s one of her favorite rings to this day.
One my sweetest memories, is from a time, that now exists, only in my heart. I was eight years old, the sweet smells of summer wafting through our backyard. My father is alive and Sharona and I and our fathers are playing in the pool. It was just the four of us and little did I know how many years this little hour of time would stay with me. David was spending time with my father and I was playing with Sharona. The relationship between my father, Felix Rapaport and David was very deep. David and my father were close friends and when David was in need of a kidney transplant, it was my father who performed it. My Papa had the most infinite respect for patient care and it was his top priority. When it came to David the connections and the bonds of our families transcended the relationship of patient and doctor, it was so much stronger than that. This incredible kidney transplant lasted over twenty-two years, when the average transplant lasts about seven. From our records, this was my father’s last transplant, as soon after that he had an accident and was unable to operate any longer.
Recently, Armando, my father’s driver and our longtime handyman dreamt of my father and sent my mother an email relaying the message that all of my father’s transplant patients had passed on. My mother read the email and felt that it was mistaken because David was still with us. This was before we heard the news that Hashem had taken David back and that he was now in the Olam H’emet. Words cannot express how much I believe that Hashem has His ways of how He brings us home. As my heart aches for this loss, it gives me some comfort to envision my father, on the other side, welcoming David with the deepest embrace. David’s memory is etched in my heart forever with my Papa’s.

May their memories be eternally blessed.

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