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  • Writer's pictureRabbi Benyamin Bresinger

What makes someone remember you 42 years later?

Updated: Jan 3, 2020

I don't get blown away often.

I rarely get nostalgic.

I don't believe anything is by chance. An extraordinary encounter cemented that belief.

A powerful moment at the Museum of Fine Arts

At our film festival at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, during the dessert reception, a woman approached me and asked, "are you Lorne's brother?"

I said, "yes. How do you know Lorne?"

Lorne is my older brother. He passed away in 2001.

She told me that she remembers him. She was his nurse at the Jewish General Hospital in 1977. She introduced herself. Her name is Rachel Sinyor.

I was floored. Lorne was only at the Jewish General Hospital for a few days. And somehow, 42 years later, he left such an impression on his nurse that she approached me to share some memories.

I asked her how she knew I was his brother.

As part of the film we presented at the museum, I was interviewed and shared my story and the impact my brother's chaos had on me. Rachel had somehow put two and two together and decided to approach me.

I invited her to visit our centre.

Getting nostalgic

Chabad Lifeline is located on the Jewish General Hospital grounds. In fact, it was once the home of Samuel Cohen, the Founding Executive Director of the hospital from 1933-1968.

Rachel stopped by and I gave her a tour of the house, now repurposed for our use. It still has a very homey, comfortable vibe, and doesn't feel like a clinical institution. This, in my belief, contributes to the family atmosphere that people we are helping describe.

Rachel learned about our services, and noted that she too deals with a population that can benefit from Chabad Lifeline's services.

We then sat in my office and traveled down Memory Boulevard, with its twists and turns.

We looked at pictures of Lorne and reminisced. She shared some of the personal accounts Lorne had told her, some of which I hadn't known.

I asked her, "After seeing thousands of patients in 45 years of nursing, why did he stand out??"

She responded that there was something special about him that always caught her attention and left a deep impact on her.

My takeaways and thoughts

I believe nothing happens by chance. 42 years after my brother's hospital stay, Chabad Lifeline is located down the road and thanks to Lorne, a collaboration has been formed that will help so many others begin their paths to recovery.

You may be amazed that my brother left such a strong impression on someone he only met for a few days.

I'm more impressed by Rachel. It takes a special level of caring not only to remember a patient 42 years later, but to reach out and share those memories with a family member. I will cherish our meeting forever.

We should all aspire to be as caring, particularly those of us working in the clinical field.

What caring action will you take today?

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