WHEN SHALOM MEANS GOODBYE
(originally featured on JPost.com Blogs)
My friend died yesterday.
She used to be a great friend, and then she wasn't a friend at all anymore. She changed, and changed the parameters of our relationship. And the more she pushed me into a corner, the more I withdrew.
And within a month, a friendship of over twenty years was gone. I always hoped, that one day we would find a bridge which would bring us back together again, but we never did.
Sometimes friendships last forever, and sometimes they last a short period of time. Whatever the duration these little angels pop into our lives and change them forever.
I always say that it is a privilege to live in Israel. It isn't easy. Sometimes it isn't even safe. But it is a privilege.
When I moved to Israel, I knew no one and had no family here. Well, I did have a cousin, Shalom, Ben who lived in Netanya. We always called him Shalom, Ben because when he wrote to my Dad telling him he was moving to Israel in the early 1940's, he signed off Shalom, Ben and it stuck.
Friends and neighbors became family and the dynamics were almost the same. With the neighbors I was always 'correct'. I never took advantage of the close quarters, and if I did have to borrow a cup of sugar or a carrot or two, I always made certain that I quickly replaced them. The only thing my neighbors wouldn't take back were eggs. They said that eggs were a gift and not to be replaced.
I never heard of that before, but since I couldn't replace them, I tried always to have enough eggs in the house.
Slowly I gathered a group of women around me and we became a support system for one another. One lady taught me how to cook Moroccan food, anther lady let me pour my heart out when I thought it would break. The third lady and I discussed our children and how to survive 'the terrible twos' and worse, 'the terrible teens!'
So, friends and frienships have always been extremely important. My friends are my family, and when one is lost, for whatever reason, I mourn.
During the time that this particular woman and I were estranged, I missed the old her. But, the new one was impossible to live with and there was no way to pick up where we left off.
And yesterday she died. I have spent the last twenty-four hours thanking her for years of love and caring and praying that she rests peacefully. I miss her. I'll always miss her.
Maybe one day we will meet again. Now that will be a story!