Today is Israel’s Memorial Day to remember those who died in action defending the country, as well as those who were murdered in terrorist attacks. For those of you who don’t know, Memorial Day in Israel is nothing like the one in the US – it’s not full of sales and days off  and BBQs.

On the eve of Memorial Day, at 8 pm, there is a 1 minute siren to commemorate those who have fallen. Everyone stops in their tracks – literally. Regardless of when I leave work, I always get stuck on the road at this time, and other than a few select individuals, eveyone stops, even on the freeways, and gets out of the car. I took a picture so you could see how incredible it is – sorry, it was taken with my phone. See all the cars and the people standing outside? Breathtaking.

Traffic stops as the siren goes off

Traffic stops as the siren goes off

During Memorial Day, the radio plays sad music, and a somber mood completely envelopes the entire country. As people began slowing down in preparation for the siren, I found myself unjustifiably – and unfairly – hijacking the sadness of those who have lost family members. In my “defense,” though I am not sure I actually need one, my current sadness began the day before yesterday, so last night – and today – is just a continuation of what was already there.

I realize it’s only been two months, and I know that I am still in mourning, but Memorial Day is specifically geared towards those who have fallen, not everyone who died. If every day we mourn those we have lost, today is the day to mourn those who have fallen. There is a distinction between those who died in war, and those who just died. Not that my mom “just died.”

Sometimes I feel like it would have been “easier” if she had died in almost any other manner – car accident, war, whatever. Just because the suddenness of it, while painful in ways I couldn’t possibly imagine, doesn’t hold the same pain as seeing my mother fall apart, emotionally, physically, and mentally. The sister of a family member of mine, who lost her son in a car accident, even said the same. She said, while it was a shock and incredibly painful, at least she knows it was over with quickly. He didn’t suffer, or if he did, it was for a very short amount of time.

This is in direct contrast to my mom who suffered in every which way possible – and us along with her. The physical loss of dignity, the loss of simple abilities and knowledge (like our names and how to operate the TV remote), and the awareness of it all was, in my opinion, a lot worse than a sudden loss.

I can’t remember what my mom looked like – not before the disease – but that’s a whole different post that I cannot, for the time being, bring myself to write just yet. And I still don’t get it.

At least those who have lost their family members suddenly have the priviledge of remembering as they were, and for that I “envy” those who are mourning today, and I hope they aren’t angry that I joined them in their grief.