Personal Expressions

Personal Expressions

Dolores Yigal

March 2, 1956 Interment April 19, 2009

"I WILL LOVE YOU, ALWAYS AND FOREVER." Imong Bana 

When I went to live with Dolores, in the Philippines, she had an edge about her -- a mild mean streak that no one knew about except me. I set out to purge the edge by reading childrens books to her. Her first reaction to my approach was met with rejection. "I am not a child," she said to me when I began reading my first story to her. Stunned but not deterred, I opened and began reading "The Story of Jumping Mouse" by John Steptoe; and to my surprise, she listened to the whole story. As our time together turned into months and then more months, I read more and more to my wife and "The Story of Jumping Mouse" became (unknown to me) her favorite story. The day came when I had to return to the United States; and I left without Doris and not completely sure if I would see her again. It was at this moment when Doris became a miracle worker. In order to avoid any discussion of not coming to the United States from me, Doris did not tell me that she had received her VISA. Rather, she only told her sister in California and her cousin in the Philippines, who then purchased an airplane ticket; and against all odds Doris flew, all by herself, from Cebu to America. I was shocked beyond belief when Doris called me and told me she was in America; and when I asked her, how in heaven's name could she make such a perilous journey alone, she said, "Hon, I just remembered the story of the Jumping Mouse; and I was Jumping Mouse." I could absolutely relate 100 percent to her aspiration and the determination that guided her along the way. Without any further discussion of maybe she should not come to the U.S., I accepted the undisputed fact that Doris' place was with me. She deserved to be here and she had earned her opportunity to join me in New York. "The Story of Jumping Mouse" had merged our hearts into a single heartbeat. When Doris died, I repatriated her body to the Philippines. On the night before she was buried, I became her shomer." I stayed with her all night to guard her body, nurture her soul and give her spirit a sense of calm before surrendering her to eternal rest. I, therefore, brought and read poems, prayers, and childrens stories. To neither Doris nor my surprise, the story that I read the most to her over the course of the night was "The Story of Jumping Mouse" -- a childrens story that synchronized our hearts. Omri Yigal