04 August 2012

Hatchalah, v.2

I just spoke with Iris, Uzi's mum. When I told Lila I was planning to ring her she replied 'How ambitious!' Indeed. Terrifying doesn't quite describe it. We hadn't spoken in years, her pain was too much, there was nothing but death on the line, crippling, horrifying in its intensity. I couldn't comfort her, of course, who the bloody hell could, I felt completely inadequate and raw and so I avoided it very successfully.

She laughed, she actually laughed a few times. It shocked me so much, it was so unexpected, Iris laughing again, good God! We cried too, of course. He is, after all, still gone but it was a different sort of sadness, there was no overwhelming grief vortex, just love and appropriate sadness and, on my part, hope and gratitude.

Do you remember the butterfly? A few weeks ago I was sitting in the garden in Holland, reading and thinking about Uzi. I was thinking how much I wanted to tell him about my life and how maybe, after almost a decade, he wasn't around anymore. I was looking at the sky, knees drawn up, when I felt a thump on my knee. When I looked down there was a butterfly on my knee. I actually stopped breathing for a few seconds. A butterfly had just seen fit to land on a human and perch there, delicately. It stayed for the longest time, long enough for me to properly look at its tiny face, who ever has a chance to really look at a butterfly up close? I memorised the markings and looked them up later, it was a Red Admiral. I had to wipe my tears for a moment, I couldn't see anymore, and when I could see again it was gone. It only took an instant and it's a fair-sized garden but it was nowhere to be seen, just gone, just like the other one. Love, appropriate sadness, hope and gratitude, like I said. My very own Red Admiral. I needed it desperately.

Iris didn't ask why he doesn't send her butterflies too this time. That was a horrible moment for me, I thought she'd be comforted and instead she felt left out and neglected by her dead son, oh well done, me, add to her grief, an excellent choice, let's ring again soon! *thunk* This time she saw it as a sign that he is at peace and keeping an eye on us, surely the unhappily dead don't send anyone butterflies. And this time I was  able to ask her about Uzi's books. 

When I came into his life he liked to read but owned almost no books. [He could also just sit quietly in his room, no music, no telly, just apparently looking at nothing for hours, I never understood that one either.] This sad state of affairs was corrected almost immediately and when I left Israel I left him a lot of them. I've anguished about them since he died, at least on a weekly basis. Over one in particular, 'For Love of Mother-Not'. I love this book and wanted him to have it for his birthday. The fact that there is a Pip in it only made it that much more fitting. I had to scour the internets to find it but find it I did. Then I had to painstakingly cut out Flinx's face because he looked like demon spawn, kudos to the artist. Uzi did love it and the book lived happily in the bookcase with a little round hole in the cover.


I want it, I need it to be with me, but I couln't bring myself to ask about the books because grief is different for everyone and Iris might have surprised us all by giving them away to his friends [which would have surprised her very much too, kibbutzniks don't generally fancy reading English books all that much] or a library, or what have you. Well, eight years later I found out that some are in the kibbutz library and most are stored away. They live still.


My Tig's older brother E. has two children now, a boy and a girl. (I'm told this time I really will be sent pictures.) His older sister H. is very happily pregnant. His younger brother Z., whom Uzi used to worry about so much, is doing really well and has even gone back to uni for another degree. Lila's son C. is absolutely gorgeous, if a sleepless little shit. And I, I have decided that I am going to go home to Israel for a visit next year. The books live still, and so do we. It is time. 

1 furballs:

QuietusLeo said...

So glad you are writing again. This sent chills CNS-way. When you visit, you must look us up dear.