Thursday, 10 February 2011

Loss of Dr Joel Glaser: Adios mi Amigo

Death of Dr. Joel Stephen Glaser
Loss of a Book that educated you
Dr. Glaser, with his late wife Irena, had been part of every step of my life in Miami. I came here as a graduate student, then as a medical student and later to study Endocrinology, the years happily spent at the Jackson Memorial Hospital. By then Dr. Glaser was already an internationally recognized expert in Neuro-Opthalmology. With his inseparable friend, Dr. Norman Schatz, also another authority on diseases of the Eye/Nerve, we had shared such good times. We had gone together to the north coast of Jamaica, to the beaches of Cayman Islands. But most importantly I would remember Joel and Irena for being an integral part of my Jewish life in Miami. For years, regardless of where I was living at that time, I tried to be at their home for Pesach and whenever I was in Miami, the Friday nights were spent at their home.
They had seen me become, a Jewish boy from Melbourne, Australia grow up to become a Doctor and then an Endocrinologist, shared in my love of travels and shared some memorable occasions including the Hurricane Gilbert in Kingston Jamaica!
What is the lesson you leave me, my dear friend and teacher, Joel?
Apart from your never-ending curiosity about the world? Your knowledge, your critical eyes of looking at the social situations? Your warm friendship and never ending discussions during Pesach. So many things you and Irena gave me… I feel a direct message from you.
First of all dear friend, happy rendez vous with Irena!
I work with one of the most pure thinking groups in this world, the Native Americans.
You have to be where you need to be, said one of them. My visits to Miami during my sister’s sickness always coincided with un anticipated need for my presence.
Day before yesterday I was supposed to leave Paris to go to Bangalore and then on to Cochin, KL and Rangoon. But for weeks I did not feel comfortable with it. And just a few days before, I decided to come to Miami.
I arrived here the night before, Joel passed away peacefully last night. I am so glad to have been breathing the same air, dear friend, as you begin another journey. It is us, Schatz and your three children and your countless friends who have to be pitied for continuing our lives with such a tremendous loss.
Perhaps there is a reason for my trip to Miami, especially undertaken knowing that my sister wouldn't be here, as she is in Cayman Islands. She is usually the only reason for me to come to Miami these days. I do believe what the Indians have taught me, I needed to be here. Yesterday thinking about the reasons to come to Miami, I had these thoughts, written more or less at the time of this eternal Adieu!
Last night at around 8 pm, I wrote this:

Yesterday while flying I thought to myself, by living in Paris, I have forgotten something so fundamentally important to my personal way of thinking. To enjoy the minute pleasures of every day. Perhaps that is the reason for this trip to Miami. Nothing happens without a reason.
I enjoyed meditating this morning, saying thanks to the people who came into my mind, good friends in Tehran and Kuala Lumpur. I let my thoughts invite those who wanted to come and it was curious that people who should be very close to me, such as the real family did not appear in my gratitude list this morning. As we grow older, a friend wrote recently, chosen friends become closer to you than your chosen family.
What do I mean enjoying minute pleasures of every day?
Enjoy having a bath, taking my time, enjoying the soap and the hot water, taking my time to shave and also to clean my teeth. I don’t want to rush through these mundane acts of every day. A friend who is staying in this house of my sister offered to make some Jamaican coffee, which I savoured so fully... the breakfast was against bacalhao with onion and green platanos. Every thing tasted divine, tastier than yesterday.
To be in balance, you have to find time to enjoy these activities
I am certain; this also was a lesson I had learned from Irena and Joel Glaser.