Wednesday, January 18, 2006

When it rains. . .

The last week has been a difficult one. My uncle passed away early Monday morning after a long battle with colon cancer. While we have been waiting for the call, it still came as a shock. My mother had flown into America during a scare in November, but realized that she would miss the funeral and prefered to sit shiva at home with family and friends. My father hasn't been able to take time off of work to be at home with my mom because he's flying out to America on Sunday morning to be with my grandmother, who is having intensive back surgery next week. I'm the only child (out of 4) with the flexibility to be with my mom as much as possible, especially in the early afternoon when it gets very quiet, and there aren't many visitors.

This morning, I called my mom to say good morning and to let her know what time I would be arriving. She asked me if I had seen the paper that morning. When I asked why, she said, "Your brother and his unit are in the paper." My twin brother has three weeks left in the army, but has been in Jenin for the last few weeks, involved in a fairly intense offensive operation against the various terrorist groups. Thank G-d, my brother is ok, but the group commander was badly hurt, the details are here.

My brother is finishing up 3 years of army service, which has been far from uneventful, but he's been ok. My little brother is going into the army shortly after my twin is getting out, and it's an emotional whirlwind. I've discovered that if I push it to the back of my mind, I can function, I can't imagine how parents and spouses can supress the panic, keep it from bubbling over the top. I remember when my husband (whom we'll call sweetie for purposes of anonymity) was doing miluim (reserve duty) and how nervous I got if I didn't get an sms each night saying he was safely back in his base, and going to sleep.

But that's part of living in Israel. This wonderful country presents such a paradox - I love that I live here, yet my heart is constantly perched on edge. I have such pride in being an Israeli, yet it is so difficult to live in a place which makes my heart ache and causes my nails to be bitten to the quick. But at the end of the day, I swell with pride when I tell people that my brother is fighting in the army, that I study at an Hebrew University, that I live in Jerusalem. At the end of every Yad Vashem tour that I give, I leave with my convictions and beliefs in my counry renewed and strengthened.

Stay safe, my brothers, come home in one piece and may we know a time of peace.


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