I spoke to my mother on the phone today.
She asked if I was okay.
I said that I was.
She asked me again.
I was not able to lie the second time.

Tears poured down my face as I mourned little Hallel Ariel, my mother listening with unmatched patience the entire time. Because this is not first instance that I’ve called her, sobbing over the loss of one of our own. And we both know that it won’t be last. As she stayed with me on the phone, allowing the time for every last droplet to fall from eyes, I steadily grew calmer. And then I lost it all over again.

Rina Ariel is never going to get another call from Hallel for as long as she lives. She will never hear her daughter chat excitedly about the good grade she worked hard for in a class, or complain about her crush who she refuses to ask out herself, or practice her latest dance routine in the living room. Rina will never see Hallel graduate from high school, or get inducted into the army, or get married, or have her own child. Rina had to speak at Hallel’s funeral. She had to stand there, suspend her disbelief, and say the words that no parent should ever have to.

The driveway and floors and sheets have been scrubbed to the core, cleaned and bleached and washed until there was no more physical trace of blood. But the proof is always going to be there. Hallel’s bed will remain empty, except for the moments when her siblings and parents will lie there, soaking her pillow with salt and heartache. Her dance shoes will be preserved in their current state, and will never need replacing or refinishing. The pictures of her at her oldest have already been taken.

I’m tired of grieving the Hallel Ariels, and the Hadar Cohens, and the Benjamin Yaakovoviches, and the Omri Levys, and the Ezra Schwartzes, and the Netanel Litmans, and the Gilad & Eyal & Naftalis. I’m tired of anyone, especially CHILDREN, being murdered in cold blood in the name of “resistance.” It is terrorism, it is hatred of the Jewish people, and it makes me sick to my stomach that anyone has the nerve to say otherwise.

I’m going to call my mother again tomorrow, just because Hallel won’t be able to call hers. I’m going to call my parents whenever I can, because of all the children who can’t. I suggest you do the same.