My son Ahrele moved to Beitar, and I am planning on attending the housewarming party. I am planning… but my family has other plans. I announce my intentions and immediately receive the typical reactions: Mommy, why do you have to travel out there? It’s a big effort for you. Just call him up.
I consider their words. Why fight all day? You don’t feel well – enough, give up. Surrender to harsh reality. The overwhelming majority of A.L.S. patients in my condition are hospitalized in wards for terminal patients, waiting silently for…. And I, I keep fighting all day. I fight because I want to continue…to continue giving. But the ALS is a potent enemy and me? I’m just a weak soldier.
All my life I have fought.
I remember days gone by, when I spearheaded the program of mainstreaming special needs children in normative preschools. How I fought! It was so important to me that little Jewish girls should be able to attend a Jewish preschool in spite of their language difficulties or hearing impairment, or even Down’s Syndrome. How I fought – and with whom? Actually – with whom not? I fought with the Education Department Supervision, with the Municipality, and even some of the parents of the normal girls.
They argued that integrating Down’s Syndrome children in a normative school will have a deleterious effect on their healthy girls. How I fought. I pointed out the fact that their daughters will only gain from it! They will learn to be giving, to have compassion.
In the end, everyone was convinced. The supervisory staff members that came down to the preschools could not believe their eyes! One of the supervisors looked at the girls with tears glistening on her eyelashes. “These girls – are the most beautiful girls I ever saw,” she said. And a father who previously fought against me wrote in a letter of admiration: “At the playground, you can always tell which girls attend a mainstreaming preschool! They are gentler, more giving.”
Yes, in those days I fought plenty. But now?
A question arises in my mind. Under normal circumstances, why would I attend a chanukas habayis? Isn’t it to share the joy with someone I love? Together with a crowd of others who share the same sentiments? My fighting spirit is aroused. No! A phone call is not the same. I want to be there!
My emotions are geared to go but a major coughing fit reminds me that my body is not in sync with my emotions. Spent, I begin to reconsider. Perhaps I should surrender? Perhaps I should remain on shore rather than fight the waves?
Then I remember. I am not alone. This weak soldier is flanked by an army. An army of powerful soldiers ready to stand at my side. Professionally trained with state-of-the-art equipment and hearts of gold that will move mountains to ease my plight. “Call Ezer Mizion,” I say aloud. “See if they have an ambulance available for that date.” My family breathes a sigh of relief. With Ezer Mizion leading the battle, they know I am in good hands. Not only will every bump, major and minor, be smoothed out but each one of their drivers is always looking for little ways to bring pleasure to the suffering. Just last week, a driver went out of his way to show me a scenic view that he had discovered just because I had once mentioned that I enjoy such things.
And so, I will continue fighting! I will jump into the sea with my degenerating body and tear the waves with my paralyzed fingers. Ezer Mizion and me: we’re a formidable army. Even the Monster named ALS cowers in terror as, together, we fight to live!