Just before I turned six, I broke my hip falling out of the car. I told my mother the door was locked and shut well, but it wasn’t, and I fell out as we started to move. I don’t remember the ambulance, but I remember the bright lights and pain as they took glass out of my legs. They x-rayed me and sent me home saying everything was fine. Later that night I was crying so badly that my mother knew something wasn’t right and took me back to the hospital, insisting they look again. Sure enough, I had a hairline fracture on my hip. So we stayed a few weeks with me in traction, followed by time at home on crutches until I could go faster with them than on foot.

What I remember most though, was that first night. I was coughing (it was mid-winter), and with every cough came massive pain. But every time I woke up, all night, my mother was there next to me, comforting me.

There are many things she has done for me in my life, and I assume I don’t even know about most of them. She has let me grow up and choose my own path, she (and my father) let me stay in Israel during the Gulf War and did not let me know how worried they were- I only found out after, from others — she taught me how to be tough yet loving as both a mother and a teacher.

I think the hardest thing a parent has to do is let their child walk out the door, much less move away from them, not to mention six thousand miles away. But she only gave me minimal guilt for this, and made me feel loved all along.

She is going now, giving in to the cancer, and the hardest thing about it is letting her go.

As I tuck her in and kiss her and a smile lights up her face as she kisses me back, or as I sit quietly in her room later and watch her sleep, kissing her again without waking her, I feel the role reversal. I resent it a little, still wanting her to take care of me and comfort me, but I also appreciate the gift of this time that God has given us. I can repay her only a minimal amount of all that she has done for me, and I do it gladly and with love.

Thank you for showing me how to be an Eema. I hope I am as good a role model to my children.