As you may recall, after a time full of events that came and left at such a speed it left no chance for me to breathe or feel, I found myself in a fragile and exhausted state, functioning by day and not sleeping by night. This turbulent time took its toll not only on my, but also on my man, who was also dealing with this very complicated time in a man’s life, namely – being forty. In my weakened state the mere hint of a possible problem was enough to send me into a nose dive, a total panic that sent me spiraling down without control. For a long time I was silent. Except for ordering the girls around I spoke to no one. You probably know me enough to know what this means.
In the midst of all this I got a very surprising phone call from the editor of “Gvanim” publishing, who told me they liked my book and want to publish it. This started a crazy race towards finishing the illustrations for the book with my good friend, the artist Dalit Shachar. Twice a week I drove to her house in Karkur to work with her, until she was happy with the results. My wonderful brother in law, Assaf, who is a talented photographer, photographed the acrylic-on-canvas illustrations and turned them, with the help of my sister and a magnificent photoshop work, into beautiful illustrations that were combined with my words into one delightful piece, and the book was published.
Looking back now everything seems like a blur, unclear, un-me. Who’s was this terrible, paralyzing fear? Who’s tears were these? Who was this person who felt as if the rug of her life had been pulled from under her feet, and she was flying through the air, flailing in vain and can’t find any hold? Certainly not me!
Like every hard time in my life, this period also made me discover people, who turned out to be my support and solace. One of those people was Nitza, my husband’s aunt. Being the youngest sister in the family, Nitza wasn’t much older than us, and as someone who had been through a crisis herself and always kept her bright smile and optimism, she was there to help me keep my smile as well with a word or a hug. This time brought us closer to her and her children, all in their twenties, and this relationship was a pleasure.
Amidst all this ruckus, the medical team in the N.I.H. decided it was time to get the plates out of Ori’s leg, and we started making plans for another surgery.
And then I found out I was pregnant.
I felt sorry for the soon to be baby growing in me, absorbing all this negative energy, but somehow, this pregnancy brought a little order, created some calm. It was clear that I wouldn’t be able to go with Ori this time. I wouldn’t have been able to help her, carry her, go with her to x-ray or even lift her spirit when I myself am exhausted with severe nausea. It was agreed that her father should go with her this time. It wasn’t easy for any of us. There are times in your life when you need your mother with you.
In the meantime, a grand wedding was being planned for Maayan, the daughter of our beloved aunt Nitza, and my little girls were made flower girls. The clothes had been bought, the hairdresser appointment was set, baskets for the flower petals were prepared.
Three days before the wedding we discovered that the fetus in my womb was not developing properly. There was no heartbeat. I had to have an abortion. My doctor’s attempts to resolve the issue without having to anesthetize by giving me pills resulted in a high fever and excruciating pain, but the stubborn thing clung in there.
We had no other choice. On the day of the wedding we came to the clinic to have the abortion. Something had to go right in this story, so the procedure itself was quick and painless. When I opened my eyes my man asked me: “So, do you want us all to go?” A smile spread on my face. Of course I wanted the whole family to go with Ori. This way he wouldn’t be left to worry at home, and I wouldn’t have to part with the little ones.
From the clinic I went straight to the hairdresser’s, where the girls were ready and waiting for me, beautiful in their matching white dresses. I got home, got dressed and we all drove to the wedding venue. The wedding was beautiful, the girls were lovely, and I even danced a little. On the way home we called our traveling agent and asked her to get tickets for all of us, and then we called N.I.H. to tell them of the change in plans.
The next morning, I had plans to rest. I deserved it. But when I woke up I reached into the drawer where I kept our passports, and was shocked to find out that Eyal’s had expired. I jumped out of bed and ran out with her, irst to take her photo and then to the passport office. We managed to slip in a mere moment before it was closed for the day, and we were last in line. When we finally sat down in front of the clerk, I told her: “A story like mine you haven’t heard for a long time.” She gave me a tired look and said: “Try me. I’ve heard it all.” I told her about Ori and the abortion and the wedding and the fact that within three days we all have to be on a plane to D.C. and oh, yes, that our first day there is Ori’s birthday and how important it is we all celebrate it together before she goes into surgery.
The clerk listened to me in silence, and when I was finished she just said: “You sit here. I’ll have your new passport in ten minutes.”
Throughout that weekend the house was a whirlwind of preparations and packing and then, on Monday, all of us girls boarded the plane to N.Y. My man flew ahead of us to attend some business meetings and joined us on our second day there. We calabrated Ori’s birthday at the hotel restaurant. The little ones fell asleep, exhausted and jet-lagged, and we too had a hard time keeping our eyes open, but at least we were all together.
Surgery this time around turned out to be a lot easier than last time, and within days Ori was discharged from the hospital, after once again demonstrating a remarkable capacity for healing. What should we do with the remaining time until our scheduled flight home? We asked ourselves. In mere hours we arranged flight tickets, a hotel and a rental car and we were on our way to Orlando. The hotel was awesome, and we had lots of fun at the different Parks and attractions. We flew back to D.C. to remove Ori’s stitches and say goodbye to the wonderful team, and then we were on our way home.
(conclusion to come)