With its head down, Israel commemorates its fallen
Bereaved father: “There are moments when it’s okay to cry”Three bereaved fathers have decided to share their stories about their loss and how they are dealing with it. “The bereavement is a scar I will have for the rest of my life,” said one of them. “I can still say that I am carrying a heavy burden even today,” said a father who lost his son 15 years ago in a terror attack.
In just one moment, the life of a family is turned upside down as the mother, father and siblings become a “bereaved family.” Every parent deals with the pain in a different way. Channel 2 News asked three bereaved fathers to share some of the thoughts that are have been running through their minds since the day they received the horrible news.
Moti Mat, the father of Li Mat, who was killed when a bomb exploded in Khan Yunis during Operation Protective Edge, asked the Channel 2 News team not to describe his son by using the usual words used to describe fallen soldiers. “Without ‘of blessed memory,’ without ‘hero’ and without any other slogans,” he told Channel 2 News. “I want to be a minimalist and real. I will summarize everything in three words [in Hebrew] that say it all: Lilik, how much I miss you!”
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Mat has channeled his pain into thoughts about the future: “We come from a place of finding solutions. [We will] do everything so that what happened to us won’t happen to anyone else. This is a type of thing that you don’t even wish upon your enemies. It’s horrible.”
First Lieutenant Bar Rahav was killed by an anti-tank missile that hit his vehicle in Gaza during Operation Protective Edge. He was just 21 years old. “I think to myself often what Bar left behind,” explained his father Efi, who is trying to preserve his son’s legacy. “If I can sum up one outstanding feature he had, it’s that he always lived his short life to the fullest until the end.”
“The bereavement is a scar I will have for the rest of my life,” Efi continued. “It’s a bleeding wound for me. [You] just need to learn how to live with it. Throughout the shiva, people all the time told us to be strong but I actually think that you just need to be who you are. There are moments when it’s okay to cry. There are moments when you need to hurt and there are moments that you need to put on the costume and mask and be just like any ordinary person in society.”
21-year-old Eliran Buskila was killed during a terror attack in 2002. A suicide bomber approached his car and blew himself up. 17 people, including 13 soldiers, were killed. “Eliran was the second child of four children,” explained Zion, his father. “He had a very technical mind,” the father recalled. “He was a computer guy already then. He really loved technology. Everything new he would get and he would easily learn how to operate it. He really loved learning.”
Buskila said that the process of dealing with the loss is never over. “The life of Eliran was ended at the age of 21,” he said. “He was supposed to be around 36 today. In the beginning, I didn’t want to get out of bed. It was really hard for me to pick myself up. I can still say that I am carrying a heavy burden even today.”
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