Together in Tucson, April 2021
It's ok to keep breaking down.
I have a lot of pieces and not a lot of peace.
I find myself on a long path and I keep following it, but I no longer can observe, feel, or reason where it leads, and so, to take my brother's lead, I'll just write. Write my piece.
I spent about 5 weeks in Tucson with Josh, Ashley, Noah and Eliza, and my mom. My dad, and many friends and family came to help and be with us. A full year and a half of careful Covid precautions were brushed aside as we sheltered underneath the protection of our vaccines, and embraced each other. At first I was afraid to fly to the US because of Covid exposure, now it's an afterthought as I boarded my 17th flight since coming to the US.
With my parents in Tucson, April 2021
Getting help up from the Shulman brothers, our cousins, Tucson, April 2021
With Josh and Ashley in Tucson, April 2021
Cousins band at the music shop, Tucson, April 2021
Farewell dinner with friends and family in Tucson, April 28, 2021
My mom and her sisters in Tucson, May 2021
A visit with friends, May 2021
Beautiful cousins and birthday flowers, May 2021
What was it like to be separated from my 2 sons, who were in Israel during rocket attacks, major military operations, and civil violence the likes no one in Israel has seen before?
On the day of Josh's funeral.
I will leave it as a question, because I have no answer. I don't know how the puzzle pieces ended up on the board that way. I kept toting a charming puzzle my friend Margie gave me in my suitcase hoping I would carry it back to Tel Aviv to my new house. Where my children were. Sleeping in our pink bomb shelter. I didn't make it back to Tel Aviv, instead they came here. Leaving school unfinished, more shattered pieces of a Covid year.
I am puzzled.
Jonah in our bomb shelter in Tel Aviv, with dear friends and family. Eitan is behind the camera.
I learned that dying is a process, especially dying from a disease that squeezes you out of an otherwise young and healthy body. What a spirit my dear brother had, had left, and what bravery to let go. I was glad to be by his side, to be with Ashley, Noah, Eliza, my parents and all those who were able to come to be with us. I was separated from my family, just as Josh was separated from his when he was with me in Israel. These are pieces of our lives this year.
What goodbye looks like, with a dear friend, May 2021
I had hoped to grieve after Josh's funeral, since the uncertainty of the situation grounded itself with the lowering of Josh's casket, or "box", as Eliza, his 3 year old called it.
I had hoped to access parts of myself that were fortified and sealed off so that I could remain strong and intact to hold my brother and our family's love and trust through the days and weeks and months, the minutes and seconds left of his life. From dying to death, we flew from city to city, moving around like game board pieces. Israel was another game altogether. It was in a box on the shelf that my piece didn't fit in. Instead of grieving, I tried leaving, and leaving, and leaving again. But planes don't fly where rockets fly. There is was no peace to be found there.
My Google Map from Maps, May 2021
On the night before Josh died, I embraced him and stared into his eyes. I felt terrible that I was crying and he could see. I hoped his compassion and love for me would not pull him out of the direction he needed to go, which was away from me, and somewhere I could not understand. His eyes welled with tears too. Perhaps we shared each other's sadness, or maybe he was telling me he needed to go. It was our last moment together. That he could go and let go is the only reassurance I have. This is one peace I keep.
My return to my family and to myself has been turned inside out and upside-down, but we are together now in Cleveland. In our old home. In a place once far away. A home away from home.
A place once familiar and familial. A place where Josh came many times.
I keep looking for answers, picking up the pieces to see which ones fit, but,
Maybe there is no peace, but the ultimate, which we cannot attain right here, right now. Instead we have little peaces, a moment here, a moment there. Pieces of peace.