My father; “Don’t be afraid, it’s my turn to chase the monsters away”

It is almost a month since my father closed his eyes for the last time. My beautiful father. This post is a bit different, not much running, more about memories and what’s important in life. So this is what I wrote and read in the funeral:

“On the way, driving, I heard a song saying “Abraham, do not touch that child…” and I asked too, but it did not work. A so, like king David, you went out to the yard to open the gate, and he found you there. David.

My father, a child on the laps of a Romanian girl in the village. On a wagon, deported. Walks along the room walls to avoid his dead grandma. Runs with grandpa between the bombs, seeking shelter in the trenches. Hiding in the toilets with Ezra your brother, to eat the cake grandma sent. Crossing the continent after the war by train just to catch the buns at the window in Amsterdam railway station.

Excited to see Haifa harbor lights after a week at sea. Charming mother by the water fountain in the steaming Beit Shean valley. Firing a “fiat” rocket in your army training, and remembering Leibowitz hat floating in the river as you crossed it. Building your home in kibbutz Tel Amal, work night and days out in the fields, saving young gazelle hiding in the growing wheat.

Celebrates and happy with his children, mourns the loss of his first boy, so young… over fifty years ago, seems like today. Leaves the kibbutz, build a home in the city,  a warm and hugging family nest, with diverse neighbors, and kids with bread and jam on the grass. Hikes and travel with us across the country, knowing every farmer in the fields and the mountains. Teaching me to know each soil, row and furrow. 

You, who came back from this horrible war in 1973 and sworn not to shave until peace comes. That when Sharon entered our home with her head shaved, and mother stood there jaw dropped, you said: “you look great”. That let us fall a rise and respected our will to be independent. That welcomed your guests wearing gallabieh and serving steaming coffee. You, that kept complaining that the painful back stands between the head and the bottoms, but agreed with me that the alternative is sanitary questionable. That somehow, Afula was the center of the world for you, and that your eyes shined when you talked about your grand and grand-grand children. That they remember with love how you said that each person is born what he is, and so do gay people, so why making such a big deal about this.  That of all the things you could tell my daughter when she traveled to see the camps in Poland, you asked her to contribute to the society and the community.

Dad. That I was smart enough to start telling you how much I love you two years ago. So here, one more time: I love you.

Kisses and a big hug. Rest in peace.” 

 

And all along this week, this touching song of James Blunt played again and again in my head.

“Monsters” by James Blunt

Monsters (James Blunt)
Oh, before they turn off all the lights
I won’t read you your wrongs or your rights
The time has gone
I’ll tell you goodnight, close the door
Tell you I love you once more
The time has gone
So here it is
I’m not your son, you’re not my father
We’re just two grown men saying goodbye
No need to forgive, no need to forget
I know your mistakes and you know mine
And while you’re sleeping, I’ll try to make you proud
So daddy, won’t you just close your eyes?
Don’t be afraid, it’s my turn
To chase the monsters away
Oh, well I’ll read a story to you
Only difference is this one is true
The time has gone
I folded your clothes on the chair
I hope you sleep well, don’t be scared
The time has gone
So here it is
I’m not your son, you’re not my father
We’re just two grown men saying goodbye
No need to forgive, no need to forget
I know your mistakes and you know mine
And while you’re sleeping, I’ll try to make you proud
So daddy, won’t you just close your eyes?
Don’t be afraid, it’s my turn
To chase the monsters away
Sleep a lifetime
Yes, and breathe a last word
You can feel my hand on your own
I will be the last one, so I’ll leave a light on
Let there be no darkness in your heart
But I’m not your son, you’re not my father
We’re just two grown men saying goodbye
No need to forgive, no need to forget
I know your mistakes and you know mine
And while you’re sleeping, I’ll try to make you proud
So daddy, won’t you just close your eyes?
Don’t be afraid, it’s my turn
To chase the monsters away