True Fighters

March 31, 2023, Israel

The year was...I don't remember, but it was in Savyon, Israel, perhaps I was 8 or 9 years old. My father was very tired after a long day of work. I was involved in some dispute with some neighbors and I asked my dad for help. He said, Son, you will have to learn to fight your own battles.

And that is true. I have fought many battles throughout my life, physical, emotional, legal, moral. And I have prevailed. 

Recently we lost a dear family member, she was only 60 years old. She fought cancer for 10 months, she never gave up hope but sadly, the Big C took her life. 

I still have to sort through photographs of my dear mother. She passed last November, a long time ago some might think, but every Friday as the Sabbath approaches, I think of how I would arrange her meals, every free moment I think, I should be visiting my mom. And then I remember. and so, I was looking through photographs, and I saw one of my favorites, a very sad but happy photo. It was taken by Esther just before one of my trips to the USA. I had to travel, for Krav Maga seminars, and she encourage me to go. As the years went on the most difficult part of traveling was saying goodbye to my dear mother, to leave her even for a little bit. I was privileged to live very close to her, a few minutes' walk. The happiest part of the trip was the return home, my first phone call while still on the road, Mom, I am home, I will see you soon. And to hear her cheery happy voice. Can one ask for more out of life?

And then to knock on her door and come in. What joy! to see her beautiful face, smiling. No matter how tired I was this was such a thrill. And I cherished it, every moment. I always brought her something from some interesting country, a little token of affection, of love, even though she always said there was no need. 

and I look at this photo. In each photo there is so much that is hidden, so much that we do not notice when we take the picture. So much that we take for granted at the time. She is in her kitchen, which she loved so much, at her table, reading the Jerusalem Post. She always enjoyed sitting at the table with a hot drink and reading the Post. She is wearing her Chemo to go kit, as I called it. Every other week we would go to the hospital. She would receive her treatment and get her Chemo to go, it would drip into her system for two days, and then a nurse would come to the house to detach it. That always made her so happy and she could take a shower again. 

That little kit symbolized her struggle with cancer. She was determined to win, just as she had 25 years earlier. She never gave up; she was a true fighter. She wanted to live, as long as possible. She waited for news of a new great granddaughter; she enjoyed her visitors. To wear that thing for two days, to sleep with it, it was very uncomfortable, but she was determined. She did not want to stop the chemo treatments, she believed she would get better, against all odds. She had such an uplifting spirit; she even enjoyed her hospital visits. 

She worried about losing her hair, she still wanted to look nice. She put on lipstick before going to the hospital. She lived her life to the fullest. I admire her so. This is the true definition of being a fighter. The only trophy we need is life itself, to be with loved ones, to appreciate those around us. She was a champion.