Tuesday, January 13, 2009

When compassion and common sense collide (updated at end)

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I wasn't going to post a Ruby Tuesday shot today. I've got a shot, a good one I think, but my heart and mind are not on photography today.
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Even for those of us living in the safety of the center of the country the war has a way of intruding into the smallest most unexpected of places.
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Today it intruded into my life in one of those unforeseeable ways.
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My friend's husband died Sunday night. He was ill, though a sad loss it was not entirely unexpected. Even in wartime people still get sick, and sometimes die. This particular couple though lived in Ashdod, a coastal city in the South of Israel, a city where the bombs have been falling. This is the friend whose neighbor's home was hit. The funeral is today. And it is in Ashdod, as it should be for a family that has long since made this city their home.
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And I need to go there.
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This is a couple I care about. One I've known for many years. I need to be there to support my friend in her time of loss.
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And yet.
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And yet...
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I spent most of yesterday weighing the pros and cons. I'm not going to repeat them here, you can fill in the blanks yourselves. At the end of the day though, I feel I have to go. Many of my friends will be there too, I won't be alone. I won't even have to drive there alone, something that really frightened me (what if there's a siren and I'm lost in Ashdod and don't know where to go?). It's been quiet there the past two days, relatively speaking. Schools in the south are gradually reopening (they've been closed since Hannukah), at least the ones with bomb shelters and fortified rooms to use as classrooms. (So different from the Hamas who are storing their weapons in schools. We're using ours to shelter our children.)
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I thought of going instead to her home later in the week for the shiva (mourning period), but I decided that seeing that bombed out building right across the street would be too immediate a reminder for me, more than I was ready to handle.
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So I'm going today. We're going to go in, attend the funeral (held at graveside here in Israel), and get out again. The overwhelming likelihood is that nothing will happen and it will all be just fine.
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But still. I can't help but be afraid. Afraid to go in, and at the same time guilty that I have the luxury of making that decision. My own home is not under attack. I can leave any time. So many others, on both sides, cannot.
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So yes, the war has a way of intruding, even where you least expect it.
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While I'm gone this afternoon I will leave you with this reminder of a happier, quieter time - this detail of a pillow cover I had made from fabric I brought back from Thailand years ago. I believe it was meant to be a skirt, though I used it as a table runner for many years before having it made into two pillow covers.
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Update: I'm back home. It was a beautiful, quiet afternoon in Ashdod, and indeed my friend received great comfort from the large numbers of people who turned out to bid her husband farewell.
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44 comments:

laura said...

Beautiful fabric. I'm sorry you are in such overwhelming circumstances. God bless...

luna miranda said...

it's very brave of you to go...it's the perfect time to be with your friend. be safe!

ilanadavita said...

Hope you'll be safe Robin. You are doing a great mitzvah for your friends.
I like this fabric.

Jill said...

I can only imagine the inner struggle between going to the funeral and keeping safe.

You're doing a good thing - you're obviously an amazing friend.

Thinking of you every day during this ordeal - and am so thankful for your updates!

Neas Nuttiness said...

Oh Robin - I will pray for you through out the day. Please post when you get home, so that we will all know that you got back safely!
Hugs for safety,
Libby

Marguerite said...

How brave of you to go and support your friend during her time of need. Glad you are back home and safe. Love the fabric!

maryt/theteach said...

Robin, I find it hard to type a comment. You are a brave woman, you went to give comfort to your friend in spite of the danger, the very real danger... My heart goes out to you and your friend, for her loss of her husband and to both of you for having to live through such a difficult time... Know that I think of you often. Thanks for posting that lovely pillow for Ruby Tuesday.

ellen b said...

I'm glad you were able to go and return safe and sound. I hope that you and your country persevere through it all..
On a lighter note, the fabric is very pretty!

Dawn on MDI said...

Peace, friend. it is all I can hope for you. Nothing could be greater, nothing more welcome, I think. Peace.

"Sunshine" said...

Robin, I think it's great that you went to be with your friend. If I were in your shoes, I doubt I'd have the strength and courage to actually do it. It's morning here, so I just read your post and was alarmed, thinking, "Oh, I hope Robin is okay," and momentarily forgetting that we're several hours apart in time zones... so thank you for the update saying you made it home safely.

Now, for the photo. I think the fabric is lovely! I didn't know that you sew. That's so awesome! I tried it once, but, like cutting and drawing, my sewing is not very straight. I tend to bunch the fabric with disastrous consequences. Since I didn't participate in the delurking yesterday, I'll add that I think it would be cool if you posted more photos of things you have made. Peace to you.

Robin said...

Me? Sew? Bwahahahahaha.

My dress designer grandmother is probably rolling in her grave right now, but I can barely sew on a button Sunshine. Making these pillow covers took great skill - I had to walk the fabric all the way down the block to the seamstress and explain to her what I wanted!

Kay said...

You are in my thoughts.... I am so sorry to hear about the passing of a friend but so glad you could be there for those left behind.

--hugs-

Flea said...

I'm so glad you went - and returned safely. Praying for peace in the hearts of all in Israel right now.

Love the tapestry. :)

Gattina said...

It's so sad for all the civilian people on both sides there is so much sorrow. If you feel you have to go then you should go, otherwise maybe you would regret. I grew up in a completely destroyed country and my playground were ruins. I was born in 1943 in Germany and remember very well the occupation and all these destroyed cities. I lived in Bonn where 80 % of the city was gone. My mother for the rest of her life got hysterical when there were thunder ! It reminded her the bombing and she went to the basement to hide. I of course couldn't understand such a behaviour and found it funny ! Now I understand !
War is something terrible and it's always done by politicians they have nothing to fear and their children are never soldiers either.
I wonder what Anne Frank would think today about this war !

Lis Garrett said...

I am so sorry for your friend's loss and relieved to know you made it home safely . . .

Jan said...

I'm glad you went, both for your friends sake and your own. I know it meant a lot to her.

Carletta said...

I want to thank you for your story. Those of us far removed from your situation have been given a glimpse into something we can only imagine. As I read your story my heart went out to you. I was happy to read all went well for your safe return.
Thoughts and prayers for your friend and you.
It's a lovely pillow!

tjhirst said...

These are the touching personal perspectives that help me understand the human context. I'm sure the decision-making in such times is like that for most but we don't often get to hear about it. Thank you for writing it and for having the courage to go. I grateful it went well.

Jientje said...

I can understand how difficult this must have been, but I think you made the right decision. Your friend needed you and you were there for her in those very difficult hours. But I'm very glad that you made it back safe and sound too!

Your EG Tour Guide said...

Robin,
I'm glad you did what you felt in your heart you must do.

Beautiful pillow!

Phyllis Sommer said...

i'm glad you went and i'm glad you are home safely. thinking of you...

Carol Anne said...

Robin,
first I am so glad you are safe!

I think this is one of your best posts. I had knots in my stomach as I read this. You helped me "feel" what mothers and friends on both sides must feel.

thank goodness you are ok. May this craziness end soon!

Carol Anne

crazy working mom said...

I came here for a RT photo and got so much more from this post. I am so sorry to read about your friend. It's a sad thing, war. Nobody ever wins. I pray that the conflict is over soon for your sake and the sake of all others around you. My heart goes out to you and your friends in your time of need. I've posted a red shirt, well sort of.

Stephanie in Idaho said...

I am glad to hear you are safe, I am sorry to hear about your friend. So sad, and so scary. Because you have a family you feel an obligation to stay safe...

I think about you daily and pray for your (and your family's) safety.

Leora said...

I'm glad you went, too. So hard to lose a spouse to illness.

I wonder how our friends, an older couple who retired to Ashdod, are faring.

It's a beautiful fabric.

Pia K said...

Like someone said, a personal and close view on all this madness makes it even more sad. I'm glad that the right decision also turned out to be the very right one.

The fabric looks very similar to oldfashioned ones we have in Sweden too, my grandmother even used to weave them. Very pretty and I'm sure the cushions look very nice, although a skirt in that fabric would be just lovely;)

Peace.

angie said...

I'm glad that your compassion and common sense collided in a way that left you feeling that you made the right choice.

Felisol said...

Dear Robin,
You made a brave decision when you went to that funeral. I think living in Israel every day is a brave decision.

In our capital there have been demonstrations, legal, pro and con Israel.
Saturday was the Muslims' day. They brought little children and babies in prams in first line and went aggressively against the police, thrashed windows of American owned stores.

They showed true colors, the Norwegians were shocked.
Now we easier understand the amount of dead children on the Gaza strip. They are human shields.

I'd call it a victory for Israel.
From Felisol

Tim and Vicky said...

Glad you are safely back home.

splummer said...

Hi!
I am so sorry to hear of your friends passing. Making a decision like that was very painful for you. Glad to hear you got home OK. Your table runner is beautiful!! Thanks for stopping by my place. Have a great day!!

Sherrie

naliniprasanna said...

I'm glad you attended the funeral and managed back home safe.

Lea said...

Thoughts from here to your friend and her loss... and to you for following your heart. The fact that you have these luxuries makes a big difference Robin, even if you can not see it in the shadows of what is happening around you... thank you for the beauty you bring to everyday life... it is a gift, medicine for the world.

Dianne said...

I am sorry for all the stress and loss and danger in your everyday life

I hope you know I wish you peace and safety

anymommy said...

I'm so sorry for the loss and so glad that you were able to go and be safe. Hugs to you.

Vader's Mom said...

You are constantly in my thoughts and prayers. Thank you for sharing this - I truly don't think of all the little ways that this effects life and I'm grateful for the reminder. (Though I sure wish you didn't have to share!)

avtcoach said...

I am touched by your committment to this friend and your compassion for her. You did an amazing thing. Your friend will remember that day..not just for the sadness of saying goodbye, but the symbol of support that her friends risked there own lives in a very real way to be with her. For her..What an amazing friend you are. I knew that, I have always been touched by your posts! Shalom!

ramblingwoods.com said...

I'm glad you made it back safely. Hard to understand that a simple thing as comforting a friend could be so dangerous...

Terri said...

My sense is that you will be so grateful that you decided to go. For your friends and for you too. I'm so glad you made it home safely.

The fabric is gorgeous.

Mojo said...

I'm sure the comfort your friend received from having so many come to pay their respects was amplified by an order of magnitude by what they had to face to be there. You're a good friend Robin. And a courageous one. And I'm glad you're home safe to tell the story. Love to your friend in Ashdod.

Janet said...

I'm so sorry to hear about your friend's husband; glad, tho, that the service went well and was uninterrupted.

Linda said...

Good for you. Your real kindness is one of the reasons I like you so much. :)

laughingatchaos said...

I'm so glad you were able to go, and even happier that you returned home safe. You are a true friend.

Dianne said...

I am glad and relieved that your trip was safe and that your friend received the comfort she needed.

Peace

This Eclectic Life said...

I know that you are relieved that you decided to go. If you are like me, the guilt of not going would have been heavy. I'm sorry for the loss of your friend.