24 October 2009
Recently, I read a post on Susan's blog, one of my blogger-friends from India, where she writes about the importance of her friends in her life. This led me to make a personal comment on her wall about my friends.
Last year, my mother, a very young woman [57 years old], full of live and energy, suffered a stroke. My mother has always been the pillar of our family - taking care of everybody and everything. Being an only child, my own daughter, Michelle, was the joy of her life. She always took Michelle to "fun days" and spoiled her endlessly. I was used to her 10 - 15 phonecalls a day, checking up on me, or calling from the market to see if I needed this or that.
All that was cut short in one moment. In one moment, my family's life had turned upside down. The stroke left half of her body paralyzed, including her ability to speak, read and write. The first few months she was in a wheelchair, and stayed at a rehabilitation center for 4 months. My dad and I took turns to be with her for the whole day, supporting her and helping her emotionally as well as doing physiotherapy, speech therapy and occupational therapy exercises with her.
I had to be strong for my mother, but inside I was torn up. I was devastated. I would cry myself to sleep every night. Most of all, I missed the phone ringing and my mom's voice on the other end. Those phonecalls used to be so irritating to me in the past - I would feel that she was getting under my skin with her questions and practical advice. I miss those "irritating" phonecalls the most.
Today, my mom still can't use her right arm, she has trouble walking, and her vocabulary is minimal. But she has made great progress.
Anyway - I got carried away. I actually wanted to write about friendship. Until about 2 years ago, I didn't have any real friends. I had some friends, but not friends whom I can call in the middle of the night and empty my hearts to. In the summer of 2007 I started working in Isha L'Isha - Haifa Feminist Center, which is a community of feminist activist women. I got to know some amazing women - together we demonstrated against war, against homophobia, we marched on the international day against violence against women. Together we laughed, we cried and we planned projects.
These women became my second family. Without these women, I would have collapsed after my mom's stroke. They are my sisters and my mothers. They offered me their support; they said "You can be weak with us. You can collapse and we will carry you." I could call them in the middle of the night and they would come for a cup of tea. I could call them and cry and they would listen.
I am so grateful to these friends, these sisters of mine for supporting me and helping me get through the most difficult year of my life. Without you, I wouldn't have made it.