I’ve just come back from pretty much the last place in the world I wanted to be today, or any day – Mt. Herzl, Israel’s military cemetery. My dear friends Haim and Ilana Watzman just buried their twenty-year-old son Niot, who died yesterday after a diving accident while on leave from his compulsory military service.
I of all people know that this happens, that children leave this world before their parents. But my shock at hearing the news was no less than if it were the first time I’d ever encountered this affront against nature. All I could think was, My God, it’s happened to them; what happened to me has now happened to them. I’ve been alternating between intense distress and stubborn disbelief ever since; it’s amazing how the disbelief lingers, even now, after my heart was torn out watching the family put their son and brother into the ground.
A mutual friend told me that she’s glad the Watzmans have me as a friend – someone who knows what they’re going through. But as I said back in January in my post Grieving and Sharing, my fervent wish has been all along that I would have no occasion to use the special knowledge and ability to help other bereaved parents. Especially if they’re friends.
I hope very much that I really will know what to say to help them on their journey through the pain of bereavement and, ultimately, towards healing. But for the moment, I can’t think of anything.
There really are no words.