A year of firsts, without my beloved

A year has passed since the Carmel fire took you away, but I still wait for you to come home.

Burnt trees after the Carmel Fire 311 (R) (photo credit: Reuters)
Burnt trees after the Carmel Fire 311 (R)
(photo credit: Reuters)
Kiril, exactly one year ago, on December 5, 2010, you came home – in a coffin, covered with the Israeli flag. A week ago, at the memorial service we held for you, I remembered the last time I saw you, on November 25. It was a Thursday, you returned late at night, tired from the course, from a lot of studying and a lot of traveling. But you were mostly tired of the distance between us.
At the central bus station you saw me from a distance, looked at my big belly, and couldn’t believe that in a few months we would become the happy parents of our first daughter, Maya. You asked me how much the fetus weighed, how long it was; what I’d been eating and what I had done that week.
I asked you about the course, and told you which type of bed I’d chosen and which linen set I found for our baby. We quickly ran to the store so that you could manage to see it before the store closed. I showed you a picture of Winnie the Pooh with a bee on the blanket, and you immediately understood, without words, that the bee was Maya and you were Winnie the Pooh, her father.
Every night, as I cover our Maya with that blanket I remember our smiling faces, so in love with each other.
That Friday you said you wanted to go diving, but it was the end of the month and our money had run out. On the other hand, the following month the diving season would end, and then you wouldn’t be able to dive until the spring. I immediately called the diving club and reserved a space for you on Shabbat.
This year, on Friday, I had to eulogize you at your memorial service. And on Shabbat I went down to the diving club. I sat there and waited for you to come back from the sea. Then I went home without you.
Even in my wildest nightmare, I never imagined that that Sunday morning when I took you back to the bus to return to the officers’ course would be the last time that I would see you and hug you.
A YEAR has passed. It’s been a year of pain, a year of tears, a year in which our first and only daughter was born, a year of so many “firsts”: the first weekend without you, first holidays, birthdays, wedding anniversary, personal memorial day; Maya’s first smile, first word, first step, first tooth. And all of it without you.
I’ve done so many things this year. I enlisted in the Prison Services; I bought a new car; I planted a tree in your memory in the place you especially loved to go on walks; I am trying to plant a garden with flowers and trees near our house so that you can enjoy the view as you wanted to.
I collected letters from all your friends, and I will write a book for Maya so she can read about her father when she grows up. You started writing a book about the period of your service in Gaza, and you dreamed of publishing it. That is also my future task.
This year I did a lot of things that you wanted to, and hadn’t had the time to, and I did nothing. Because it doesn’t matter how many days or years pass, I still can’t look at your picture and grasp that you are no longer with us. I still wait for Thursday when you will come home and I will tell you everything that happened to me without you, how Maya grew, what she said, what she did.
I will make your favorite foods and as I see how delighted you are, I will melt from within. We will go on trips to the most beautiful corners of Israel and the world, and we will be the happiest couple in the universe. And then I wake up and discover that today isn’t Thursday, nor is it Sunday. I don’t even remember what day it is, because in my week there is only one day, another day without you, full of memories, longings, tears and survival.
I am like a huge stone embedded at the bottom of a river. The water flows all around me, and touches only the superficial layer. So, too, life goes on around me and I wait for you to return and wake me up from the deep sleep.
I love you forever, your wife.
The writer lost her husband during the Carmel forest fire last year. Donations to the IDF Widows and Orphans Organization in Israel, which offers support to Carmel forest widows, can be made at [email protected] or (03) 691-8403