How many people stop to consider what life is like, after the terror attack is over?
Very often lives are changed, forever.
The murder of Dafna Meir was one of the more horrifying attacks Israel experienced last year. How many people stopped to consider Renana afterwards? What will her life be like?
Eldest of Dafna and Natan Meir’s six children, it was Renana who interrupted the terrorist in the middle of stabbing her mother to death. It was Renana who saw the terrorist trying to pull the knife out of her mother’s body so he could stab more people.
It was Renana who saw Dafna struggling to keep the knife inside her body so that he couldn’t hurt her children.
3 of her 6 children were in the house. Dafna’s refusal to allow them to be hurt and Renana’s screams were what made the terrorist give up and run away.
The night of the attack I wrote “How can home be the place where the heart is when that is the place where mommy’s heart stopped beating?”
How can you go on living in a house that was a home, a sanctuary that became a living nightmare? How can you walk across the floor your mother laid on while life fled from her body? How can you use that room as if it was just a regular room?
Over the past year, the people of Israel got glimpses of the spirit of the Meir family. We learned more about how extraordinary Dafna was. We also saw how Natan took all his children in hand and made sure their family life continued with light and with love.
For some reason, many assume a man won’t be able to take care of children on his own. Natan was horrified that there were those who questioned whether or not he would continue taking care of the children he and Dafna had adopted. How could that even be a question?! Dafna had wanted a big family. After they had their own children, she wanted to give a warm and loving home to additional children who needed it, so they adopted. How could anyone think that Natan would abandon the children that Dafna wanted so much? How could anyone think he would treat them differently from his biological children? They are all one family.
A terrorist could steal Dafna from them. Violence could break their family unit but it would not ruin their family. No terrorist could steal their family spirit.
Kindness is a choice. Happiness is a choice. Even when the most horrible things happen it is still possible to choose light. It isn’t easy, but it is possible.
The Meir family dramatically renovated their home. They worked on different ways to honor Dafna’s memory. Through sorrow that is difficult to fathom, an experience almost impossible to comprehend or process, they continued to live, always striving for the light.
Interestingly, Meir comes from the Hebrew word for light and means “giving light,” like a candle gives light in the darkness. And that is exactly what they have done – their example has been a light to us all.
“Or” means light in Hebrew. Interestingly, that is also the name of Renana’s fiancé. She recently announced their engagement in a touching Facebook post, saying:
“My Or who tells me not to cry, gives me reasons to be happy.
My Or who feels the evil with me, is the essence of goodness.
My light, on the day of my private devastation, on the backdrop of the Temple Mount where the Temple is sorely missed, chose that together we will build and grow.
Of course I said yes!”
I don’t know Renana and yet my heat leaps with joy to read her words.
I do not need to know her to know that no girl should ever have had to experience what she experienced.
I ache for her pain, knowing that time does not heal. One learns to grow with the pain, one choose to live and be happy despite the pain but the loss never goes away. There will always be a gaping hole where Renana’s mother is supposed to be.
I, who lost my father to cancer at a young age, can imagine what it is like for Renana. Each time she wishes she could tell her mother something, only to be hit with the reality of what happened…
What’s it like to get engaged and not be able to share your happiness with your mom? Hopes and dreams, plans will have to be made with other people…
What will it be like to have children without Dafna? I can imagine but I can’t know how Renana will feel. The only thing I am certain of is that Dafna’s example will make Renana a stronger, better mother.
The daughter who saw her mother die so that her children would not be hurt, can only become a stunning mother herself.
Renana will always carry with her the Meir family light. Now she also has Or who will add to her light. I pray that together they will have a wonderful life, full of happiness, good health and joy, free of troubles and sorrow.
And I hope they have a lot of children.
Am Yisrael Chai!