It began with my husband Alex sharing a message in our family group that a 21-year-old a soldier from our town named Roi Maron ז”ל had fallen in combat yesterday. It encouraged everyone to line the route from the family home to the cemetery with Israeli flags at 2pm.
I got the same message in four different groups.
At 1:50 we grabbed our flag (everyone has one, but the council was handing them out anyway) and walked out, joining others heading in the same direction. Two turns later we were on the main street, it was already lined with blue and white flags. In the crowd I saw the shoe shop owner, the guy from the corner store, my friend’s mother, another friend’s daughter and her cousin, immigrants I once met, and a bunch of faces I didn’t know but knew.
We waited on the island in the middle of the road as more and more people came. Regular traffic passed, some drivers in tears at what they saw, a bus passed, the driver shaking his head in sadness and solidarity. There were parents and kids and dogs. Everyone had dropped whatever they were doing, walked outside and lined the streets.
Why? Because he is our son too.
Then the funeral processions drove by. No one spoke. We just stood side by side and raised the flags high.
They drove down the road used for the Purim parade, the Independence Day parade (that I was too shy to march in as a new immigrant 20 years ago) and the Kol Nidre promenade. Our main street, like in a folk tale.
After they’d gone we headed home, bumping into people we knew. Still no one spoke, just pressed each other’s hand or shoulder. And then the clouds came over, the sky greyed, thunder rolled and lighting bolted, echoing the pain in all our hearts. I think it must have been just as the family reached the cemetery that the heavens opened and rain pelted down. Yes, the weather here is of biblical proportion too.
I came home to a bowl of soup that had soured.
There are really no words for these moments, but I had to try as I know so many of you care and want to know what we are experiencing.