On March 7, Mom’s birthday, one year after her death, you were sworn in as prime minister. If there is any justice in the world, then wherever she was, she saw the way you were elected. Nobody in this world or the next deserved to be at the ceremony more than she did. She was blessed with wisdom, devotion, loyalty and beauty - remarkable beauty. The perfect exemplar of a true Hungarian woman.
I am also tied to another woman who died a long time ago. Did I say a woman? Barely more than a youngster when she passed away, only thirty years old. It is a tragic bond. If she hadn’t died, I wouldn’t have been born. It’s as simple as that.
“My dearest Arik, I miss you so much, especially today when there is no one to give me a birthday kiss and no one who even remembers it’s my birthday.”
My Aunt Gali wrote those words on October 22, 1958 to my father, who was overseas at the time. If no one remembered then, who will remember now that she’s gone? Gali was my mother’s sister, my father’s first wife. Four years later, she was killed in an accident and after another four years had passed, I was born.
Hanukkah, December 1990, in a small village in the harsh diaspora, your mother Vera was born. She was a wise, resilient woman who worked the land. You got all that from her.
And if we’re already talking birthdays, every year before the birthday of my brother, Gur, Gali’s son who was killed five years after her death, I was faced with the same dilemma: Should I say, “Dad, today is Gur’s birthday,” or keep quiet? Maybe, under the pressure of work, he’ll forget, and reminding him will just make him sad. But what if he remembers and thinks he’s the only one who does? Mom is already gone and he has no one to share his sorrow with. Gently and quietly, I would say, “It’s December 27th, Dad. I remember.”
The most prominent of all love is a mother’s love, from which all other loves spring and to which they return. After all, what does a man want from his lover? To stroke his head and hold him tight. And what does a woman want? Undoubtedly the same. But she also has a maternal instinct that oozes from every cell in her body, an instinct she inherited from her mother that has been passed down through the generations from the mother of all mothers. And so she embraces her lover and in doing so embraces the next generation as well.
Friendship among men has a different source: Collaboration in hunting and war. It’s simpler and less dramatic, a sharing of triumphs and failures. A brief hug, a pat on the back, a quick smile, a single word. That’s enough, we’re good and it’s on to the next battle.
I can’t talk about friendship without mentioning Reuven Adler. This is the first time he isn’t here with us. He was a true friend who shared our journey. God never created another one like him.
On rainy Saturdays I muse over friendship and love: Parents’ love for their children, the love between a man and a woman, the evolution of love, how it is born out of natural selection and to what proportions it can grow. It is all so complicated, enigmatic and at times, painful. And what about me? I just love.
The writer is a son of former prime minister Ariel Sharon.
Translated from Hebrew by Sara Kitai, [email protected]