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.


13 thoughts on “When too much is too much…keeping yourself together

  1. Refuah shleima to your daughter .
    From my experience in such situations, the best bet is just to try to relax (!!) , take a deep breath and daven that we are able to trust Hashem that all, and I mean really all will be for the best in the best possible way. Usually that is when we start seeing small and big miracles happen, just like you did when you left Israel ion a rush.
    It’s not easy, and I’m sending in all the best wishes from here.

    ps- what is your daughter’s name for davening?

  2. wow… reading this post puts my own grumpy week in perspective. a bad cold and feeling overwhelmed by work and upcoming pesach are obviously not such a big deal. if i can adopt just a smidgen of your attitude, i’ll be fine.
    thanks for the chizuk.
    may Hashem send you the chizuk you need too.

  3. Dear Aviva, Wow what a situation! Baruch H’ you brought your baby along! It might turn out to be an opportunity to really let your children at home shine. With all you have invested in them I think you might be pleasantly surprised to see how well they manage. Natalie is so right- deep breathing and tefillah! H’ is running the show, so whatever will be- will be good!
    Twice in the last years I had to leave my husband and 7 children for 3-4 weeks. We spoke often on skype and on the phone and they B”H managed quite well. It was humbling to see how well they managed without me.
    refua sheleima to your daughter!
    Warm wishes!

  4. One thing to remember when dealing with medical professionals (which is what I am guessing the person that mentioned 2-3 months must be) is that all they see is the patient and the illness – not the bigger picture. Perhaps a week to stabilise DD so she can travel back to Israel to continue her treatment isn’t beyond the realms of possibility ? Talk to as many people as you can and do not take anyone’s word as the law – it’s incredible how much flexibility can be wrung out even out of a steeliest rod when you need it to be done !

    Wishing you – all of you – all the best !

  5. Aviva,
    I am so sorry to hear that your oldest daughter is not well now and the struggles that you are going through to be there with her. I have a lot of time on my hands right now, is there something that I can do to help your family? Please tell your husband this. I will try to call him as well. I hope that you and your daughter are able to return to Israel quickly and in good health.

  6. I will pray for all involved, for your dd, for you and your family, for your mother, for the doctors caring for dd and mother, just all of it together! B”H you all will be right where you are supposed to be because H” put you there! Your stories help remind readers of not only the miracles we either don’t recognize or don’t know about at all, the miracles in our daily lives that we all should thank H” for! Todah rabah, mamash todah rabah, for sharing your life with us so we can work together to thank H”!

  7. Hi Aviva, I’m here in Brooklyn, New York. I don’t know the circumstances surrounding your dd’s condition or where she’s being treated but perhaps we can assist or even monitor the situation while you are back in the Holy Land for Pesach. B’ezrat Hashem, Refuah Shleima.Also, on a personal note- when I was in the seventh grade, my mother had to drop everything for a family emergency. The best thing for me and my siblings was that with the help of friends and neighbors, we were able to maintain our daily routines-Uprooting everyone to the States at this point will be traumatic for everyone.I’m praying for the well being of your family as well, B’ezrat Hashem.

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