Thursday, March 13, 2008

Home

“What was to become of Gila” was a topic of much discussion while I was in the hospital. No one was particularly enthralled with the concept of sending me home, where I would have to deal with everything on my own. (By this point, it had become clear that my roommate was not going to be a particular pillar of support). The hospital social worker, Barbara Jacobson, was in favor of my going to a sort of resort for a week. National Insurance was willing to pay for me and one friend; it would allow me the opportunity to recuperate in peace and quiet. Other ideas that were tossed around: my cousins in Ramat HaSharon, the parents of one of my friends who own a home with a garden in Zichron Yaakov and friends in Jerusalem with an extra bedroom.

I rejected all offers. I was adamant. I wanted to go home.

While he was here, my father got to know some of my friends. In particular, he really clicked with Nomi and Michael Albert. At some point, he and the Alberts decided that I would spend my first days of freedom with them. I cannot remember now if I was involved in the decision-making process, or how I felt about the delay in my going to my own home, but in retrospect, it was the best decision possible. The day I was discharged, I was exhausted and in a state of mental shock and was not in any condition to take care of myself. My father is a physician and it is entirely possible that he knew that this was coming.

And indeed, the days with my friends served as the breather I needed in order to get my head back on and take control of the situation. Nomi and her family made sure I rested—she actually instructed her two sons, ages sixteen and seven, to keep a close eye on me in that regard—fed me lots of homemade soup, kept the number and length of visits in check and got me through the first day of outpatient visits (itself a challenge). Shabbat I spent with Galia and Steve; we all agreed that I owed them a Shabbat since I had rudely not shown up the last time I was invited.

And yet, as kind and caring as my friends were, and as obvious as it was that I really needed the TLC, I spent the entire time chafing at the bit. I did not want to be with them. I wanted to go home.

On Sunday, April 28 Galia loaded my stuff into her car and drove over to my apartment. We walked up the stairs together. With one hand I held onto the groceries I had bought on Friday, and with the other I held onto Galia as she guided me up the stairs to my door. Pnina had made me a set of keys to replace my set that was missing. I inserted the key in the lock, twisted and opened the door.

Home.

Galia brought up my stuff and put it in my room. I thanked her, and she left to go to work. I shut the door. For the first time since the bombing, I was really and truly alone. Excitement bubbled up. I could make myself a cup of coffee! I went to the kitchen, put my groceries in the fridge, and made myself a cup of instant coffee which I then sat and quietly enjoyed.

To this day, that moment ranks as one of the happiest moments of my life. After two weeks of being a patient, a statistic and a victim, it was lovely to be once again be a ben adam, a human being.

5 comments:

RivkA with a capital A said...

yeah!

It is good to be in your own space.

Moni said...

i've been lurking for a couple weeks and now i saw your request to comment.
i'm a 27 year old paraguayan shiksa and i love your blog :-)

Regina Clare Jane said...

I had to comment also after following a link here... I am utterly amazed at your candidness and your bravery. I cannot envision my life changing so rapidly like yours did, but I know if something would happen, I would remember your words of strength and humor and feel positive that I would get through as well...
You are an incredible inspiration to me as I sit here in my little suburban home and I thank you for sharing your story.

Batya said...

I'm sure it was very hard for your friend to leave you alone that day.

kleine Maus said...

ONE MORNING I SHOT AN ELEPHANT IN MY PAJAMAS.
HOW HE GOT INTO MY PAJAMAS I'LL NEVER KNOW.

GROUCHO MARX

This must have been a feeling like comming home from an extended vacation, like the first sip of a cold drink on a warm afternoon, the intense feeling which we all know but can not describe with the right words.