Talya Woolf

The Deception of Happiness

October 10, 2023

Headline on Times of Israel: Gallant: Israel moving to full offense, Gaza will never return to what it was

Today was a ‘better’ day, if not a weird one.

I realized the other night that I can’t just sit around. We do our best not to watch the news, but we also like being informed. I’m on Telegram, but didn’t really use it until the war started. In the last two days, I have joined four channels. I take each one with a grain of salt and figure that somewhere in the middle of all of them lies the Truth.

To get busy, in addition to work, I took on two new big projects. And they’ve all been keeping me busy. Between that, keeping friends and family regularly updated, and four kids climbing the walls, I’m feeling “bettter.”

On the outside, I’m relatively calm. My mind is occupied with positive things, ways I am helping Israel (rather than the haunting thoughts of war, the knowledge of atrocities that will never be erased, and the images I accidentally saw).

I give hugs to wives whose husbands are down south, I offer sips of wine to neighbors, I bring my kids downstairs to the park in front of my building because they have lost their minds being cooped up in the apartment for three days.

On the inside, my body knows better. My stomach is upside down, I can’t sleep, and I am not really hungry. Other than that, I think I haven’t really noticed a change in routine or in reality. I’ve been compartmentalizing everything – something I’ve gotten very good at over the years.

So late this afternoon, in the nearby park (not the larger one – it’s too far from a shelter), when I saw children playing… when I heard giggles wafting through the air… when a pink balloon bounced by… when I saw scooters zooming… it was all very internally startling to me.

Image by jnprice73 (pixabay)

We brought chalk down and all the kids in the neighboring buildings starting coloring the sidewalks with hopscotch, pictures, tic-tac-toe, you name it. Youngsters traded bikes and I played Israeli music on my phone. Moms sat on the cement blocks and chatted. As if everything were perfectly normal.

Eventually, we took the kids back upstairs, put them to bed, and sat on the couch to decompress. And heard President Biden’s historic speech. Yes. Historic.

When he finished, I couldn’t move. I couldn’t breathe. My heart paused. It was silent.

And then I cried. Like all the babies who were stolen from their parents and murdered in cold blood. Like all the families who lost souls to the horrors. Like the black hole of helplessness that sucks you down when you grieve and mourn for your loved ones who were taken way too soon.

My husband held me and we cried together.

The compartmentalizing has failed. I am broken.
What do I do now.

About the Author
Talya Woolf is an eight-year Olah with four spirited children and a fantastic husband. She is a writer, American-licensed attorney, handgun instructor, amateur photographer, and artist. She is politically confusing, Modern Orthodox (though she doesn't dress the part), and ardent Zionist (ZFB). She enjoys spending time with family, friends, running, photography, and reading about highly contagious diseases and WWII.
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