Four Years Without Eran
February 2, 2011
Feb 2, 2011
By Doron Almog, Eran’s father
Our beloved Eran,
Four years have gone by without you. Four years during which I continue to travel to the village that we built for you, week after week. Again and again, I miss meeting you. I miss your hug; the way you would run to me with a huge laugh and your arms spread out to the sides, like a bird ready to soar. I miss swimming together with you, and our hikes through the Besor River and the Negev expanses. I miss our lunches out in the field, next to the jeep. I miss your enigmatic presence.
I go out to the village every week, as if I’m visiting you. To pass by your room again. To relive again and again the thousands of moments we had together, and to see with my own eyes how the dreams we wove are becoming reality even though you are gone. To see your friends in the pool that you so looked forward to enjoy. To hear their laughs of pleasure and see their smiles of hope. To feel the pinch of pain for everything you weren’t able to enjoy, and to be overwhelmed with pride for all the good that you brought about. To feel again, during every visit, that I am your messenger. You are the architect and constructor who pours into me the tremendous strength I need to create a world for special people like you. You are the one who knocks down the walls of stereotypes and stigmas that separate between wise slogans and real action, between talking about commitment and actually realizing that commitment. You are the educator, teaching people about a better world. You are the one who brings about tikkun olam.
Ori and Yali, our beloved grandchildren, are now four and a half years old. They were born half a year before you left us. They can already discern details and nuances. Now they also talk about you. As Yali looks at the picture of horseback riding hanging in our home, he tells his Ima Nitsan, your sister, that there is Eran, Sabba’s brother, riding on the second horse. Ori says that Eran, Ima’s brother, loved Ima more than anyone else. And Yali adds that you are in heaven, and you are watching over all of us.
Eran, our beloved son, our special child.
My greatest wish is that the 23 years of your short life should enable the beautiful light of overwhelming love to continue to spread and shine forth as it changes the world.
I miss you so much, my beloved son.
By Nitsan Almog, Eran’s sister
My beloved Eran.
Four years have passed and your missing presence continues to accompany me every day and every moment.
I sit in front of the computer. A new file, a white screen, tearing eyes. In the background there are almost ten different files containing my doctorate work, which is dedicated to you.
Every day I learn something new that sharpens the meaning of our experience together – the experience of being your sister. And it is so painful for me that you are not here with me now, when I have so many insights, thoughts and plans.
And so it is between the social model and the emancipatory paradigm, between the coming out of the disability closet theme and the dependence to interdependence theme. Your blue eyes gaze at me with their special look, an outside–in look, and I am left hurting and hollow.
Yali and Ori ask about you and mention you almost every day. Dig-dig-Dog your teddy bear has moved into their room, and they ask all sorts of 4-year old philosophical questions about you. I find it so painful that through you I need to teach them about the meaning of death, when I had so hoped that you would give their lives a completely different meaning, similar to that which you gave me. I had wanted you to teach them about unconditional love, about respecting the dignity of every person, about the beauty in simplicity and about communicating without words.
Sometimes my imagination and hope overwhelm me, and I see us visiting you in ALEH Negev. You are riding your bike around them and they are enjoying the park and the climbing wall they have already come to love. Yali shows you how to get a ride on Lior’s wheel chair and we all continue on to the new pool, which you never had a chance to enjoy. Every so often I take my camera out from my bag and snap pictures of all of us together, so that we have a tangible souvenir of these joyous moments.
But those pictures are only in my head. Instead, Ori tells me just before she falls asleep how she also misses you and how sorry she is that she never met you. And Yali says that he knows that you are not in the sky because you are dead.
And you really are dead. It is already four years since you died, yet it still seems so strange to me, so illogical and removed from reality.
All that remains for me is to continue to talk about you, to relive the small stories and sweet memories, like how you loved to eat Milky yogurts, and your habit of removing your shoes the second you sat down in the back of the car, and how you would thrust your legs forward so we should give you a massage.
Four years have passed and all that remains for me is to tell stories, to remember, and to hope that you will appear in my dreams, so that I can at least once more feel your hug, even if it’s not for real.
With all my love and yearning,
Your sister Nitsan
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