As I sat on a bench in Kibbutz Hannaton Shabbat morning of November 27, I spoke to my friend about the possibility of needing to return home within the next few weeks due my grandmother’s illness. As soon as we ended our conversation, the phone rang…
Sure enough it was that dreaded, yet expected phone call. My grandmother passed away. While held in the arms of my "family" in Israel, I quickly shifted into auto pilot mode.
I booked the first flight home. Forcing me to make the three-hour trip home to Gedera immediately, pack my things and catch my 5:30 am flight. Four airports visited and 26 hours later, I returned home.
I returned to a house full of covered mirrors, tables filled with food baskets and nicely placed shiva chairs in the living room.
It was hard and sad coming home for such an occasion, and I recognized more than anyone that my next week was going to be a whirlwind. But I was so happy to be home, knowing there was no other place I would rather be. As the week went on, our house filled each day and each night with many familiar faces, friends and loved ones. Eating all of my favorite foods and in particular my grandma's favorite chocolate cake was definitely a teeny tiny added-bonus...
Coming home in the midst of such an intensive experience abroad was nothing short of strange. Between all of the talk about my grandma, her life and my family, I was so honored at how many people were so genuinely interested in learning about my work and experience in Israel. A couple months prior, I wasn’t able to tell them anything, really, about the journey I was about take, but now I could speak about it for hours on end. It was a wonderful gift and I felt so lucky to have spent that week constantly surrounded by so many meaningful people in my life.
It is no secret that in between all of the excitement and new beginnings of the past few years, my family and I have experienced a great deal of loss. There’s no doubt it’s been tough, but I know that we have all become much stronger, closer and grounded because of it.
My family is unbreakable, and more than anything, we now have plenty of friends in very “high” places, watching over us with proud smiles… and more than likely getting a good kick out of all our jokes, critiquing our jewelry choices and shouting out the answers to jeopardy. We’ve got it good.