Letters to a Fallen Father: 'I say I'm OK but I'm not and I will never be'

"I thought you were unbeatable, but in the end a small piece of steel ended your life," Tal writes to his father, Ze'ev Etzion, who fell in battle.

April 21, 2015 21:55
4 minute read.
Ze'ev Etzion

Netta, Tal and Ze'ev Etzion. (photo credit: IDF WIDOWS AND ORPHANS ORGANIZATION)


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August 26, 2014
My darling Daddy, our darling Daddy,

I stand here with your clothes and your tags after I went to your car and took things as keepsakes. I still can't believe your car now belongs to someone else, it isn't yours. I'm even standing here with the glasses you bought me, very proud that my Dad was someone so good and special.

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You were my heart and soul, you gave me all I needed and more.

I couldn't stand there and hear the tragic news, and I'm still standing here not understanding you are gone forever to a better place…Daddy, I hope you can hear me, and that you are watching over me from above.

Daddy, You will always be in my heart, I can't describe what you were for me.

You were and always will be an example for me, a man who knows so much and copes so well, a man who watches over me and protects me wherever I am.

Daddy, you were killed while helping others, just as you always helped everyone. You were killed while you protected your community, and all of Israel.

You were a funny person who always had something to say. You presented me to everyone as your right-hand man and I am proud you thought that. You called me the family's representative to the world, but if only I could achieve a small part of the respect and admiration I, and everyone, felt towards you.

I thought you were unbeatable, but in the end a small piece of steel ended your life. Fate takes the good and great ones.

Daddy, they told me you died with a smile on your face, as always, even in the hardest moments. Today we are burying you next to your good friend Shachar, who used to share your morning coffee.

You were a good and special man whose life was taken by a cruel and merciless enemy.

I have a huge hole in my heart!

I hope that one day I will be like you, with all the knowledge, strength and control, loved and admired by everyone.

Daddy, you were everything to me! I miss you and can't even describe how much,

Your young son,



I'm standing here with the shirt you bought me, the one you were so proud of, and I have nothing to say.

My body is frozen, no words come, only tears which flood over my face, sadness around my heart, thinking of you.

The empty space at home, your room, your bed, everywhere you were, in everyone's heart.

I know you are up there seeing everything.

We know this is not what you wanted. You were humble, managed with very little, asked for less. This is the least we could do for you after all the good things you did for us, for your friends, for your family, for me.

This feeling is impossible to describe now.

You see everything from up there and I know you want us to be happy now. You are a real hero, a champ, my reason for pride even at these moments. I look at our photos together, from when I was small until now, how I grew up, nearly twelve, I just wanted to celebrate my Bat-Mitzvah with you, that we would be a happy family.

People ask me how I am feeling, and I answer: "OK" but I'm not OK and I will never be OK. There' a hole that will always be in my heart, it's getting bigger and bigger.

I know you want us all to be together, that's the most important thing now.

You used to ask us, if the worst happened, to go out together to eat and have a good time. That a day of mourning should become a day of happiness. You never left us, you were always there when we needed you.

I think about Mom, she too was in my situation once.

The shoes you bought a few days ago and didn't have time to wear, the clothes in your closet, so many things you wanted to do.

Of all of your children, I knew you the least, but you will always be in my head, in my heart, in my whole body, I'll love you forever and always,

Your young daughter,


Netta aged 12.5 and Tal Etzion aged 14.5, the children of Ze'ev Etzion, security officer for Kibbutz Nirim, who was killed by a missile on the last day of "Operation Protective Edge".

For more information: www.idfwo.org/homePage.htm

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