About Me :)

I got married and made aliya five and a half years ago, all in the space of 3 days. And that is where this blog begins

יום רביעי, 25 במאי 2011

A Sad Day

Today, my day started at 3:30am. As soon as I woke up in the middle of the night, I remembered with a heavy heart.  I remembered about the Shuter family in Neve Daniel, who had just lost a father, a husband, a dear friend. My cousin Barry.

I met Barry only once, a month and a half ago. Barry was a second cousin whose parents I have come to know having met them at various family smachot. I had never met Barry, though, until recently. A few days after we met, he fell ill.

Over the last few years, I had friended an array of long lost friends and family on Facebook, including Barry and his wife Amy. Through my internet contact with them, I learned they were the parents of beautiful triplets. I also learned that they were planning to move to Israel. I was excited! I have only one other blood relative here in Israel, and was excited at the prospect of befriending my long lost Shuter cousins. Shortly after I *met* Barry and Amy on facebook, he was diagnosed with Hodgkins disease. The name 'Chaim' was added, and we began praying for his recovery. I marvelled at how their vision of aliya seemed to remain sharply in focus during this time. They seemed determined to win this battle, albeit nightmarish, and forge ahead with their plans. And indeed, the universe bent to their will; in due time, I read the update about Barry being in remission. And then it was full steam ahead, as they planned their pilot Aliya trip.

Soon after they arrived in Israel on their pilot trip, they planned a Shabbat in Modiin, not far from where I live. So we met on a corner off the main street in Keiser on a lovely Shabbat afternoon. We took a stroll to one of the local parks and on the way to the park, a strong breeze blew Barry's kippa right off his head. At that point, one of his kids commented how he needs to buy clips now that he has a full head of hair again to which a clip could be firmly fastened. The family shared a chuckle at this.

We spent the rest of the afternoon all becoming acquainted. Our children played together, and the triplets seemed excited to play with their little cousin Eliya. I was looking forward to meeting them again.

During the following week, the sad facebook updates began. Barry had contracted a rare form of pneumonia to which he was susceptible, having gone through chemotherapy treatments.  Each post was more concerning than the next. And yet, this amazing family tried to make life as normal as possible for all involved, especially for the children. In the midst of the madness, their plans had to change, and they managed to make aliya. Interspersed through the frightening posts of how the illness' grip was taking firm hold, there were pictures of smiling triplets enjoying tiyulim, their cousins, their first day of school in Israel.

And then yesterday, I saw the words. 'Baruch Dayan Emet'. It took me a while to process the significance. When I relayed the sad news to my husband, I saw the pained look on his face, and then it hit me. It hit me hard. Because he was a young father. A young husband. Because this was a family member I did not yet get to know.

I am sad that I did not get to know my cousin Barry any more than that one time. At the funeral today, I cried along with all in attendance as I listened to his family and friends speak of this quiet, unassuming, humorous, generous, loyal, loving, special man.  I am especially sad for his family mourning his loss. I wish them only comfort at this time, and strength from the love of family and friends.