Monthly Archives: March 2013

Learning to accept what is and find happiness in every situation

When I got out of the hospital with Yirmiyahu on Sunday afternoon, my intention was to spend every bit of time together with our family possible before the upcoming four month separation.  (I was going to go to the US for an extended period but after Yirmiyahu’s hospitalization we changed plans, and my husband will be leaving right after Pesach to be with dd18.)  But man plans and G-d laughs.

We had a lovely seder, though I really felt dd18’s absence. The next day I began to have difficulty breathing. By the evening it was very, very hard to breathe and my husband mentioned that he was also starting to have trouble breathing. That was the beginning of the worst virus I’ve ever experienced in my life – every possible symptom you could have except ear pain, I had.  Coughing, runny nose, stuffed up nose, chills, feverish, shaking, nausea, vomiting, pain in every part of my body, inability to eat, gastrointestinal upset and lungs that feel coated with phlegm.  The first two days in bed I wasn’t aware of much that was going on around me; I had this weird feeling of seeing four dimensions of my mind opening at one time while I was tossing and turning (I know, it’s very weird and I don’t even know that that means but that’s what I felt).  I woke up with my entire body sweating late Friday afternoon – did you know that your legs can sweat?:) – with my clothes and blanket damp, and it was like something broke – and was able to get up and light Shabbos candles.

I had to go right back to bed but was picturing being better by the next day.  However, that was much too optimistic.   (Dh went to the doctor and was told that it’s a virus and there’s nothing to do but wait it out.  Of course all my home remedies are packed away for Pesach.)  Right now it’s the fourth day and for the first time I can sit up and focus somewhat.  I’m still very weak and it looks like I’ll be in bed for at least another day.  I’m hopeful that I’ll be able to be up at least somewhat for the last day of Pesach.  Dh has also been really sick but not as bad as me, so we’ve been bonding together by being sick together.  :)

Dh was able to read when he was sick and was sharing with me some things he read.  One article was about what to look for in a marriage partner. The article stated that you should look for a compatible life direction and life philosophy. He said that he thinks that what’s most important is a spouse who can roll with life’s punches and understand that things won’t always go the way you want, the way you plan, the way you expect.

I agreed, though I do think you have to start with the commonality of a shared life vision.  You learn to deal with the twists and turns of life by going through them and you can’t really know how you’re going to handle a situation until you’re in the situation.

I’ve said this before: every single person is going to go through very difficult things in their lives.  You can be as proactive as you can to take care of your health and invest in your marriage and your family and be financially responsible and interact with everyone in a respectful way – and you can avoid some problems, but there’s no way to avoid all of them.  Every single person was put here in this world with a unique mission, and part of your mission is to be tested in some significant way to bring out something in you that easy times can’t bring out.

But that’s really an academic matter until you face it.

It’s natural to want to kick and scream ‘Unfair!’ when something  bad happens to us.  But at a certain point we have to move past that and find acceptance.  When we get stuck insisting that life should be different, we make things so much harder for ourselves.

I want to share with you something very powerful that I love so much that I carried with me in my wallet for a long time.  (Hmm, what happened to this when I moved?)  I often read this to myself when I felt frustrated about something that wasn’t going my way in the course of the day and it always helped recenter me.  It’s from the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous, a book that focuses on practical spirituality; a good friend of ours who was a mashgiach ruchani in a major yeshiva in Israel told my husband that he was amazed how totally in line with Torah the principles of this book are.

“And acceptance is the answer to all my problems today. When I am disturbed, it is because I find some person, place, thing or situation — some fact of my life — unacceptable to me, and I can find no serenity until I accept that person, place, thing or situation as being exactly the way it is supposed to be at this moment.

Nothing, absolutely nothing happens in God’s world by mistake. Until I could accept my alcoholism (I substitute whatever word is appropriate for my situation), I could not stay sober; unless I accept life completely on life’s terms, I cannot be happy. I need to concentrate not so much on what needs to be changed in the world as on what needs to be changed in me and in my attitudes.”

Isn’t that beautiful?  I hope you find it as helpful as I have!

Avivah

“Mommy, when will I die?”

Yesterday I was sitting next to ds5 on the bus on our way home from our shopping trip, when he suddenly asked me: “Mommy, when will I die?”

I looked at him and said, “When you were born, Hashem (God) gave you a neshama (soul) that has a special job.  You’re going to be alive as long as your neshama has a job to do, and hopefully that will be for a very long time.”

He was satisfied with that answer and didn’t ask anything else.  But that jolted my thoughts.

When Yirmiyahu was taken to the hospital and even more when I was told how he nearly didn’t make it, I was wracked with guilt.  I kept thinking over and over, ‘Just a few more hours, what if we hadn’t taken him then, why didn’t I take him sooner?  Why didn’t I pay more attention to my gut feeling that something was wrong?”   Over and over.  I kept thinking: ‘I have to let go of this, I did the best I could, I was far from negligent about the situation…’  But still my mind would start playing, ‘what if, what if, what if?’

Then I heard those words come out of my mouth to answer ds5 and they gave me a burst of clarity: Yirmiyahu didn’t die, not because we got him to the emergency room on time.  He made it because his soul has a purpose and he needs to be here. That means that Hashem made sure he’d get there on time.  And if it hadn’t been us taking him for medical care, He would have sent another messenger to make sure that Yirmiyahu got the medical help he needed.  Because Yirmiyahu needs to be here, not just as the light of my life, but as part of God’s plan.

I can’t tell you what a gift and relief this was, to have peace of mind and let go of this huge emotional weight on me.  I don’t know if I’ll ever  totally let go of that fear of ‘what if’ or wipe out every vestige of guilt that I didn’t do something differently.  But this reminded me that God and His plan aren’t part of the picture; they are the picture.

Avivah

The unexpected benefits of being in a hospital – you can get so much done in one place!

Last night dh came to the hospital to switch places with me for the evening, since we learned that Yirmiyahu will need to be here longer than I anticipated when I came on Sunday morning.  (I thought he would be released the day I came or a day later and only came with the clothes I was wearing.)  He stayed here while I went home to shower and bring back some clean clothes and toiletries.

I didn’t think I would bring my laptop because I don’t like having to worry about the theft risk, and I also enjoy the quiet time to spend with Yirmiyahu and then to rest without any competing agendas. Hospitals really aren’t the best place to catch up on a serious sleep deficiency, but I’m trying to take the opportunities I have here and there between staff coming in and out all day and all night.   But at the same time, I enjoy being able to post and connect with others and I’d like to start preparing for the seder and Pesach in general…so the laptop is here but I hope to be cautious about how much I use it.

I was only gone for three days at the hospital but that was after being home just three days after returning from the US.  I really missed the kids and it was nice to spend time with them again.  While I was home today, I took ds3 and ds5 shopping for Pesach groceries with me – this is a three way win-win: they enjoy going shopping with me, so they’re happy.  I’m happy because I get to spend time with them and I can do something that needs to be done at the same time.  And the older kids are happy because then the kids who need the most active maintenance and oversight aren’t around, so they don’t need to watch them and can spend time getting things done that they want to do.

As far as Yirmiyahu, we are hopeful that we’ll be able to come home on Sunday or Monday afternoon, just in time for Pesach!  My oldest three kids who are home (ds19, dd16, ds14) are working together to get things ready for Pesach, with dd12 and ds10 helping out.  I’m lucky to have such amazing kids and I feel incredibly lucky that this situation coincided with school vacation, which has made everything much easier for us all.

A bonus of this hospital experience is that I’m able to take care of some medical checkups that were due around now – I missed several appointments last week because of the trip to the US.  As part of his blood workup in the intensive care unit, they tested for the hematology issues and happily there’s no trace of leukemia.  He had a heart echo done a couple of days ago, something that I would have had to do after Pesach; usually there’s a six month follow up recommendation with this but because an issue with his lungs as part of this bigger issue he came in with has caused extra pressure on his heart, we need to check it again in a month.  But it looks fine right now.  Another of last week’s missed appointments was an ultrasound for his kidneys and bladder, and yesterday we had that taken care of as well.

After the ultrasound I spoke to the nephrologist (kidney doctor) yesterday – she is amazing, very caring and extremely competent and professional.  In the pediatric intensive care unit, no one really told me what was going on and I didn’t push it because I wasn’t able to talk to the doctors one on one, and having a sensitive conversation as part of a group of three to ten staff members wasn’t comfortable for me.  I got most of my information by listening in on the rounds when they discussed Yirmiyahu’s situation with the incoming staff at each shift change.  This was the first time that I was able to directly get detailed information.

When I learned that the main concern right now is a serious urinary tract infection, I was afraid that was another side effect of him getting so dehydrated.  But she said that it was caused by the kidney/bladder issue that we’ve been tracking since he was born.  So we’re lucky that it showed up now when we can take care of everything at one time and in one place.  Staying here longer is better than having had to come back another time!  I took him for the last ultrasound for this on erev Sukkos, and was told there was no sign of a problem.  When I took the results to the pediatrician, she told me that wasn’t reassuring since something structural wrong at birth and it didn’t disappear.  She said that many ultrasound technicians aren’t experienced with such small infants and because of that they probably missed the issue.  But she said it wasn’t urgent and I could wait another six months to  check it again, which is why I had made an appointment for last week.

The ultrasound results have showed the small malformation is still there, and the nephrologist felt we should bring in a urologist to consult with in case surgery is indicated.  I met with the urologist yesterday as well (I didn’t expect to be so busy at the hospital!), who will be doing a procedure tomorrow to track some things.  This procedure will determine if he needs surgery to correct this or not.  If he does need the surgery, we won’t have to take care of that for another month, so there will be a breather before having to come back to the hospital.

Yirmiyahu is still weak and his little arms and legs have bruises all over from all the blood tests but is otherwise doing great!  I don’t have a camera here but when I get home  hope to get a picture with a smile for all of you to enjoy after you’ve shared in the scary stuff we’ve gone through with him.

Avivah

Appreciating what you have before it’s gone – but when it’s gone, trust that it will be back again

A number of months ago, I was going to write a post about the importance of appreciating each day as it is, as imperfect as it is.  Because wherever you are today, however hard it seems, you don’t know what the next day holds.  It’s important to actively appreciate each day for all that is good, and appreciate all the bad that hasn’t happened.  Like that all your kids are in bed at night, and no one has broken an arm or had to go to the emergency room.  The day after I mentally wrote this, one of our children was taken to the emergency room, and I remember thinking how glad I was that I had focused on what I had before I didn’t have it.

You don’t want hard times to be a wake up call that force you to see in retrospect that you missed out on enjoying the days you had because you were too busy looking at what was wrong.

I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately.  As much as I try to actively look for the good in each day, I can see so many things I didn’t appreciate.  I didn’t appreciate my baby’s wet diaper, him moving his limbs or having the strength to make sounds.  There are a lot of other things I didn’t appreciate until I didn’t have them.

At the hospital, I asked a nurse who was sighing heavily what was wrong, and she told me that things were hard.  I asked her why, and she told me that she has to get ready for Pesach/Passover and that we women have hard lives.  I said to her, “I hear what you’re saying, but right now I’d be very happy to be at home getting ready for Pesach.”  Three weeks ago Pesach preparation seemed like something significant to deal with.  Now it’s hardly a minor blip to me.  I wasn’t preaching to her or saying her reality wasn’t valid, because of course it is. I was just sharing my perspective from my vantage point right now.

Yesterday I was feeling overwhelmed about the sequence of events lately, like everything in my life was shattering all around me.  Thinking about all the things in my life that were good that I hadn’t appreciated enough made me feel even worse.  I wanted the reassurance that this was as bad as it was going to get, that I had hit rock bottom and the only place to go was up.  But if there were still good things left, I didn’t have that reassurance.

I’ve watched my life and the lives of others spiral down very quickly, frighteningly quickly.  We want to feel like we’re in control of our lives and if we do the right things, life will proceed in a predictably pleasant way.  We don’t want to think that despite our best efforts, things can shift in the blink of an eye.  But today I was comforted when remembering this fact of life is two sided: it can always be worse, but it can also always be better.  And just as things can get bad very quickly, they can also change for the better in an instant.

That thought gave me a lot of hope and perspective.

Avivah

Update on Yirmiyahu’s Condition

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Avivah asked me to post an update for those of you who are concerned. When Yirmiyahu was originally admitted to the hospital on Thursday, we did not realize how serious his condition was. The admitting doctor told Avivah a couple of days after he was admitted that his condition had been critical and if we had come in a few hours later he would not have made it.

Needless to say, that is a very scary thought. Thank G-d we did get him to the doctor and hospital when we did.

After five days, as of this afternoon Yirmy has been taken off all the lovely plug-ins that you see in the image and has been moved from the pediatric intensive care unit to the regular children’s wing of the hospital.  He is eating on his own, making eye contact, crying appropriately, sleeping well and even emitting some of his cute gurgles. He has not smiled yet and is still quite weak, so they are keeping him admitted for the time being. Avivah is with him in the hospital and I am holding down the fort here with my kids.

That is the update until I speak to Avivah again.  She will probably ask me to add some details.

Avivah’s DH

The value of tears of sadness

In his Power to Parent series, Dr. Gordon Neufeld teaches about the significance of frustration.

Frustration is an emotion you feel when something in your life isn’t working for you.  When faced with frustration, there are several ways that this can express itself.  The most healthy options are to 1) change the situation that frustrates you, or if you aren’t able to do something to change what is bothering you, to 2) accept that you can’t change the situation.  In order to accept the situation as it is, it requires feeling the futility of the situation, feeling the sadness of wanting something and not having it.  This is something that many of us find difficult because we have become defended from our emotions, meaning that we’ve hardened ourselves to a degree so as to not feel painful emotions, sadness about unmet desires being one of those painful feelings.

What happens when a person becomes emotionally defended?  Since they don’t allow themselves to feel the sadness of the situation, when faced with frustration it manifests as aggression (towards himself or others).  Dr. Neufeld teaches about how to help a person who is emotionally hardened find what he calls ‘tears of futility’; this is necessary for them to constructively deal with tough emotions and grow emotionally.  He talks a lot about how to do this, and one possibility is to carefully touch on painful situations to bring them to tears.  These tears are a sign of adaptive behavior and get something that can turn foul out of our systems where it can’t harm us.

Yesterday morning I was very anxious about Yirmiyahu being so sick, and as I started thinking about the possibility he’d need to be hospitalized began to tear up.  I don’t cry often, but this past week and a half I’ve had my share of tears.  I thought, “God, what do you want from me already?”  And suddenly it occurred to me, maybe He isn’t demanding something of me but giving me an opportunity.  Just as a loving parent may touch on painful topics in order to help a child experience his futility and grow, God is pushing me to find my tears.  Tears of futility (this can also be the feeling of sadness of futility without the tears) release tensions, help us come to peace about all that we are going through, and increase our emotional adaptability.

Fully feeling our sadness is an important and powerful step in  breaking down the internal barrier that separates us from our deeper selves, from others, and from God – so this is my impetus to embrace rather than resist the discomfort of the challenges I’m feeling right now.

It’s not fun but it’s good.

Avivah

Yirmiyahu is in the emergency room

On Monday evening, my chiropractor made a space for me to come in for a visit before my return to Israel.  In addition to typical chiropractic work, she does energy work and asked me something that she never asked before: What do you want to work on today?

I told her that I feel like I’m handling things fine, but am afraid that suddenly something little is going to happen –  the proverbial straw that breaks the camel’s back – and I’m going to totally fall apart.

It’s a good thing we released some stress from my system since this morning would have been the point I would have cracked.

After a very stressful and draining day, I left the US on Tuesday evening.  It wasn’t an easy flight because of Yirmiyahu.  I’ve been very worried about him since he got sick on Shabbos; this has been different than anything else I’ve ever seen with him.  No matter how sick he was before, I could still see him but this time it’s like he’s someone else.  When I got back to Karmiel Wednesday evening, everyone in my family was worried when they saw him – ds5 asked me why he looks like a different Yirmiyahu than the one I took to America.

First thing this morning I asked dh to schedule a doctor’s visit for Yirmiyahu as soon as possible; I wanted to take him but was so exhausted and dizzy I didn’t think I could safely walk there so dh went instead.  He called me from the doctor’s office to say the doctor immediately put him on an iv and oxygen and insisted on directly transporting him by ambulance to the emergency room.  They’re at the ER now, and I’m waiting for an update.  Right now we only know that he’s very dehydrated (despite the large amount of liquids I’ve been giving him almost nonstop for the last few days).  For those who would like to pray for him, his name is Yirmiyahu ben Avivah Michaelah.

I’m very grateful that he’s there, and though I would have wanted to be with him at this time, I’m glad my husband is with him.  As tired as he may be, he has more physical and emotional resources than I do at this point.  Hopefully they’ll both be home soon.

Avivah

Update on situation here

For the last couple of days Yirmiyahu has been sick with vomiting, diarrhea and a fever.  As the hours went by he became listless and apathetic, his lips and hands turned gray, he was hardly responding to me, and I was seriously considering taking him to the emergency room.  A little prior to this, a friend was doing energy work on him and what was showing up as the problem for him was a bacterial infection, which I assume he picked up when he went with me to visit dd at the hospital.

I reached the pediatrician on duty by phone (it was Sunday so our regular pediatrician wasn’t available) and talked through the situation with her.  She said it sounded like a virus and to keep him hydrated, then take him to a doctor in a day or two if I was still worried.   I  also asked a paramedic to look at him, who said he didn’t see any signs of dehydration. This was reassuring and though he’s still weak and under the weather, his color is better and he’s sleeping now.  I’m honestly worried but hopefully in the morning he’ll be looking and feeling more like himself; it’s been a rough week for him and a particularly hard couple of days.    So things are hopefully improving on that front.

Now for an update on dd18.  Her condition is stable but she will still need a lot of prayers.  The book of  tehillim/ Psalms is being jointly said by people across the world who have each undertaken to say a given chapter(s) every day as a merit for dds18.  For those who asked how to participate, you can email me at avivahwerner@yahoo.com, and I’ll forward your message to my dd16 who is arranging this.  If there are enough people who are interested, then she will continue distributing chapters and begin another round so that the book of Tehillim will be said a second time each day.  It can be said in English or Hebrew.

>>Please send some e-mail updates.  I don’t read the blog, yet want to know what is happening.<<

If someone is concerned, my blog is the best way to stay aware of what’s happening since my online time is very limited.  A couple of people emailed me to say they were hurt that I didn’t contact them personally with details of my trip or dd’s situation.  As I shared here, my trip was extremely sudden and I had a very short time from when I was told to come to get everything together, including passports.  The only person who was notified in advance was my mother.  I  mentioned my trip to three people I happened to see the evening before I left  (two while I was walking through the park on the way home) so that people would begin to hear and pass the word along – there was no intention to be secretive or exclusive.  My sister and sister-in-law found out about the situation by reading on my blog along with everyone else, and emailed my mother to find out what was happening.  My closest friend in Israel is Israeli and doesn’t have the internet, so she still may not be aware of anything unless she has heard something through the grapevine.   I hope that anyone who may be feeling slighted will be understanding of the situation.

Here in the US it’s the same thing; I tell everyone who I bump into why I’m here (some told me they already knew via the blog postings) but haven’t called anyone to tell them personally.

>> it is unfair to say there is no community support.  There is!!! To choose to be independent of the community is not the same as lack of community support.  I think it is lashon hara to speak badly about the community in Karmiel.  <<

It is painful for me to get a comment like this at this time and I’m disappointed that when I shared my immediate fears regarding how my family would manage without me for several months, that someone felt I was slandering my community rather than hearing my feeling of desperation when faced with some overwhelming news.  I didn’t say there was no support; what I wrote was:

>>Then this morning I was talking to someone involved with the situation, and she mentioned that I’d probably have to stay two to three months to help my daughter with her medical situation.  That timeline was so totally unexpected and I was so overwhelmed at that comment that I literally couldn’t say anything for over a full minute, and when I did I wasn’t successful at keeping my voice steady. My mind was racing.  How in the world am I supposed to leave all my kids overseas with minimal communal support for them?  ” (bold added to this post)<<

This was the first thought of several that I listed as immediately flashing through my mind as a concern.

I have a very large family and a family this size has a lot going on.  The amount of support my family will need to compensate for me being gone is significant.  I know the needs of my family and I also know the emotional strains they are feeling, and I was/am afraid that my extended absence could become a breaking point for them.  The Karmiel community isn’t actually big enough to be a community; there are some lovely people but there is no infrastructure in place to create the support that is necessary, and I don’t believe enough people will be able to get involved in a way that would keep the situation from becoming overwhelming for my family.

I’m not choosing to be independent of the community, though I am uninvolved in the specific arrangements by virtue of being 5500 miles away.  We really don’t have extra time to make calls asking people to help, but we’re very appreciative to those who approached us with concrete offers of assistance when they heard about our situation.  If you want to help out, the most helpful thing is to contact us and tell us what you’d like to do.

>>Is it possible to bring your daughter back to Israel for treatment?<<

No, this is impossible.  She would need a medical transport in order to fly and the treatment facilities for her needs are much better here.  There is a world class hospital with the specialty that she needs right here in the area.  It has taken some time to work out the insurance for all of this but once again Hashem has smoothed the path for us and done what looked almost impossible at first.

>>How long will you be in America?<<

As of Thursday, the team said that I should go home this week as originally planned and then come back after Pesach for an extended stay.  I don’t yet know if I will come with just Yirmiyahu or if the family will join me in the US for a few months to be together during this time.  There’s a lot of uncertainty right now because all decisions depend on factors that have yet to be determined regarding dd’s medical care. She will be transferring from emergency care to long term care in the very near future and our decisions will be based on the  feedback of the new intake team.  So everything is subject to change.

>>How are you managing with all the stress?<<

Physically I haven’t been feeling so great; I was severely sleep deprived even before arriving and was dizzy, headachy and nauseous for the first few days here.   The nausea and headaches have passed but I still have feelings of dizziness throughout the day.  Getting more sleep is really the answer but is hard right now; in addition to the jet lag, Yirmiyahu is waking up several times a night, and each time he wakes up it takes me a long time to fall back asleep.  In the day I’m busy and I don’t usually have a chance for a nap.  That means I haven’t slept more than 2 – 4 hours a night at the most for over a week.  For now I’m drinking a lot of water and trying to eat well and sit down as much as possible.  I know it’s just temporary so it’s not a worry as much as an annoyance.

Emotionally I think I’m doing pretty well.  However, my emotions are very close to the surface and sometimes tears will suddenly spring forth unexpectedly when talking about the situation.  So I limit my talk to the fact she’s in the hospital, things are serious but she’s being well cared for.  As far as self care, I put in a call to my amazing chiropractor yesterday and asked her if she can make time for me in her busy schedule before I leave, and a friend who does energy work has offered to do a session with me to help release some stress.  (We got together yesterday with the intent to work on this but Yirmiyahu was so sick that she worked on him instead.)

Overall my feeling right now is of great hope and positivity.  I’m reminded of the situation with Yirmiyahu following my difficult and traumatic birth.  Due to the events prior to his emergency unplanned and unattended birth at home, when the ambulance came to transport us I chose to go to a hospital I had no experience with.  I later found out it had the best NICU in northern Israel, though when I chose it I didn’t know this nor did I know that Yirmiyahu would need to be in the NICU for ten days.  Similarly, I feel that this entire difficult and painful situation has been orchestrated from Above to make sure dd was in a place to get the best medical care, and things are happening to support her in a way that is nothing less than miraculous.

Avivah

When too much is too much…keeping yourself together

Sometimes life throws a curve ball that is really hard to catch.

I’m here in the US for a medical emergency for my oldest daughter with a scheduled return to Israel after one week.  I planned to come for two weeks but those advising me in the US who were aware of what was happening medically told me that one week would probably be enough.  I had been worried about leaving my family for two weeks, but one week was very manageable.

Then this morning I was talking to someone involved with the situation, and she mentioned that I’d probably have to stay two to three months to help my daughter with her medical situation.  That timeline was so totally unexpected and I was so overwhelmed at that comment that I literally couldn’t say anything for over a full minute, and when I did I wasn’t successful at keeping my voice steady.

My mind was racing.  How in the world am I supposed to leave all my kids overseas with minimal communal support for them?  My dd16 can’t run the house on her own, it’s totally unreasonable and damaging to expect that of someone her age.  My little kids are already asking if I’m coming home tomorrow, and that was when I had been here less than 24 hours – how do I tell them that it will be months before I come home?  Skype and the telephone are wonderful tools but my kids need more than that.

What about Yirmiyahu and all his medical needs?  Next week, I have five appointments scheduled for him (physical therapy, naturopath, pediatric hematologist, pediatric allergist, kidney ultrasound) – it’s taken time to get a  handle on all of this.   And now to start all over?

And my mother. She’s supposed to have another surgery after Pesach, and I’m supposed to be the one there to help support her and translate for her.  She doesn’t make any demands on me and this is something I’m so happy I can do for her, but I can’t offer anything if I’m over five thousand miles away.

I couldn’t even think about this without getting emotional.  How do you weigh the needs of one child against the needs of everyone else?  How do you know when your presence will really make a significant difference that will justify the upheaval for everyone else, when either choice you make is a big loss for someone?

Hard, hard, hard.

Then I asked myself a different question: how could I minimize the negative impact of this experience on our family?  A possibility that came to mind was to bring everyone here for a few months. This idea wasn’t much less overwhelming than the idea of staying apart for a few months.  When a friend called a short time later and suggested it might make more sense to bring everyone here to be together during this time, I started crying and told her I can’t see how it’s possible, it’s just too much for everyone.

We’ve invested so much into getting everyone adjusted to life in Israel, and now we’re finally at the point that things are getting easier and everyone is settled in.  Israel is where we belong and where we want to be, even though life in the US would be much easier in some ways.  I have a lot of reservations about uprooting them at this point and bringing them here, not to mention the tremendous efforts that would be necessary to make it happen.  And if I’m busy with everyone else being here, would that compromise my ability to be there for dd, which is the point of being here?

Take a deep breath and stop thinking so much, you don’t have to know all the answers or see where this is going.  There’s a path and if you keep taking one step at a time and look for what G-d wants of you instead of trying to figure it out on your own, it will start to become clear what to do.  

After several hours of feeling very emotional about all of this, I’m in a pretty good head space now.  I don’t have answers or even a hint about how things will play out.  But I know there’s a bigger plan here and that everything is playing out in a way that will be most beneficial for us all.

Avivah