The Wailing Wall
FEBRUARy 13, 2020
I am in Israel — not because I want to be, but because I need to be. This return five plus months after my accident is not inconsequential in the slightest. And I really have but one simple ask, a humble goal that I hope is achievable: to leave Israel healthy and smiling, whole and strong (not necessarily stronger, just not further compromised), a stark contrast to my injured, pained, mangled reality last time. When I arrived to Israel in early September in one of the most vibrant and flourishing physical and mental states of my life, having just finished a spectacular week in the desert at Burning Man to cap off quite the summer, I was ready to celebrate a wedding with friends and gearing up for an exciting fall on-the-go, packed with both personal and professional meaning. I left only days later as an entirely different human, following one of the more decisive events of my entire life. Even after my accident, ambulance ride, hospital stay and dental visit, with stitches across my face, bloody swollen eye and cheek and lip and everything, asphalt lodged inside my lip and teeth splinted, I boarded the plane home without a clue as to the severity of my injuries, nor countless complexities, necessary surgeries or endless treatments of this exhausting, infuriating, prolonged, ongoing recovery.
Healing is far from over, but I know I need to rewrite my script. While unsure precisely what will come of this visit or what it may later represent for me, when the opportunity presented itself and date neared, I urged myself to seize it — and then to follow through, though I pushed my flight back twice and still almost canceled multiple times. The decision to come here was only made after intentional, extensive, honest conversations with doctors who signed off on both my physical and psychological ability to make the journey and spend time on the other side of the world without undue risk. I’m in my best physical state thus far, in terms of stability, functionality, speaking and aesthetics (which the women at the salon where I’ve long had my nails done commented upon, when I got a much-needed manicure before leaving. “You’re coming back to normal. The accident was terrible, clearly. It was so scary to see you at that time. It’s amazing what the doctors did. The doctors did an amazing job. You have more to go, but you are getting there!” I wrote down Kim’s precise words of enthusiasm, not because I overly care or am in any way subjected to what others think, but because what she said did matter to me — and she always tells it like it is. They’ve seen me sporadically recently and known me for years, as the crazy girl who pops with my eco polish, never gets lotion and comes at off-hours when no one else is in the salon and thus odors are at a minimum. Alas, I digress…) My mother also supported my journey, saying last week, in my darkest of moments, that I should go where I was happy, offering up the name Israel, as she knows the depths of joy I derive from being here with my family (family is not in quotation marks, because it’s not pretend — not by blood, but not by accident either). Additionally, I have been dreaming vividly of the Wall, despite not being a religious person and ever having such visions prior — of Jerusalem or any place, for that matter. The plane travel from SFO to TLV was undoubtedly among the most miserably uncomfortable of my life, though I made it through. And I write this propped up to alleviate headache with one hand because of excruciating nerve pain in the other arm, though I am making it through. That’s all I need to do: make it through, with a resolute mind, various medicines and psychological tools to draw upon as required. And there’s no where on earth I feel as comfortable as my own home or have a better support system than in this very place.
Despite the pain and anxiety, nerves and stresses, unknowns and variables, I believe that I am somehow exactly where I am supposed to be. Yesterday confirmed that, a major day I am still processing and about which I may share down the line. Today confirms that, being right here in my sister’s house, as she and my brother and two young nephews sleep soundly, after giving me new medicines to try, massaging my pained areas, making me tahini-covered meals, tucking me in with compassion and care, and the little boys’ life-affirming greetings (more on the power of that to come as well, as it is sustaining my soul). How I feel is a factor of the medical, physiological, emotional, behavioral, social, many factors, including environmental — and this feels so right for me right now. I took a taxi to their apartment earlier, chatting happily with the cabbie in broken Hebrew, unphased by the traffic, yet still needing to sit in the front seat, as I’ve grown prone to nausea in moving vehicles since my accident. A 13-year-old died here yesterday in a scooter crash, which is all over the news. There will be absolutely no scooters this trip, no vespas or motorcycles (maybe ever again), no bikes (yet), no cabs without seatbelts, no unnecessary risks or precarious positions whatsoever. Be careful, my people, advice I too am following.
I am indeed in Israel — not the same Erin, having endured what I did not know to be possible, but still very much me… perhaps to a greater degree than any since September 6, 2019 when I was last in this city with a smile on my face, just moments before my accident.
… and to all of my Israeli loves and anyone anywhere who I did not tell I was coming and may feel left in the dark, which is everyone: humbly accept my apologies. This is a short trip. A focused visit. An important one. I hope you can smile knowing that I am incredibly content to be here, sending only good juju from near or far, plan to be back in Israel for Shavuot or Pride (and hugs!), and will return to home and healing next week… though who knows what my health will dictate or the future has in store. Ani ohevet otchem. I love you.