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Monday, June 21, 2010

A letter to my long deceased Daddy...

So I noticed that yesterday Bindu made a note of Fathers day. It's not Father's day in Israel, but I lived in the States for seven good years of my childhood and my Dad, long gone now, loved living there.  If it was only up to him we would still be living there and maybe what happened later wouldn't have occurred. So I dedicate this post today to my Dad, Hananya Brisker, may he rest in Peace

When I was 18 my dad died in a road accident. He was crossing the street in our town, in mid August at midday, and a woman drove too fast and ran straight into and over him. He was not killed immediately. He was taken to hospital , suffering many injuries, shattered bones, and mainly a very bad blow to his head. Two weeks he struggled for his life. He lost the battle.
And where was I through all of this? I was in Europe, on an after-high-school-before Army trip with a high school friend. Just something alot of kids did after school. Army here is obligatory, though nowadays alot of youngsters find ways not to get drafted. I was a "good" girl, and though I didn't want to go...I did, well that's not new and hasn't changed all that much.( I'm being hard on myself 'cause that's the kind of mood I'm in now)
In any case, the doctors told my Mom and brother there was no point bringing me back, because he'll pull through. But I knew something was terribly wrong. He had surgery before I left and I was told that he was back in hospital because of complications. What complications? I asked but wasn't given a straight answer.

I was in Sweden for my 18th birthday, sad alone, worried, still, the good girl just carries on. When I reached Norway I went to visit Edward Munchs' museum with all his morbid depictions of Death, and I knew deep inside. Suddenly I was told to return ASAP, and the day after I arrived , he passed on. He was waiting. I didn't get to see him because he was unconscious after undergoing surgery for that head injury. It failed. I never saw him again.

The last picture I have of my dad is waving bye bye to me through the rear window as the car took me to the airport. That was 31years ago. Once, years ago a therapist asked me to write a letter to my dad and put it in an envelope. It was the first time I really spoke to him after his death, and expressed my anger and desperation....
That was 15 years ago. Am I healed? Have I forgiven the lady who ran him over? Have I forgiven my Mom and Brother for not giving me the opportunity to choose to return or not? Have I forgiven myself? And last but not least, have I forgiven you, daddy, for what I experienced as a desertion?
Now, I will take this opportunity to write him another letter. 31 years after his death
Dear Aba
I am writing you this letter in English on Father's day. You always said that before we left for the States when I was four, my Hebrew was beautiful. It's kind of weird actually...I don't know what we would say to each other if we met today. You were always my hero, tall handsome, cool in my eyes, with your Fry boots that you bought in the States, you really liked that Cowboy look, didn't you?

 So many years I have been carrying your memory, it's almost become a burden,  carrying that pain from the way you left. Although I have often felt your presence. For example I knew you were there when I lived in England in the 80's and was briefly married to that eccentric English guy who smuggled drugs. You made sure no harm came to me, thanks for that.

 Abba, you had a couple of famous sayings you used to repeat that I  desperately tried to follow, like : When in Doubt -Don't. I found myself failing miserably every time, always going against my instinct. Or : When you find yourself getting angry, go drink a glass of cold water. Sounds like good advice, but I have always wondered if you ever followed it, especially when you were beating my brother.

You called me Honey Bunch and said you wanted me to be an independent woman, something I always tried to measure up to, without knowing what that means, with no clear map on how to do that. On the other hand, I was always given the message that I couldn't really decide for myself.

Re-reading this I'm wondering if I am not repeating myself from the last letter I wrote, on the 30th Anniversary of your death. Forgive me if I am
And the all pervasive question, Why? Why did you leave? Byron Katie says: We don't get to call the shots on this one. No one knows when it's going to happen. Death. Still the feelings of desertion never went away. And will they ever? I have so many questions pertaining to your absence...like the quality of my relationships and connections with men ever since.  I really don't know.

All I know, is that I still miss you...your smile, your laugh, the way you used to dance with me to a Beatles record, and your big big shoulder that I could cry on...sorry I didn't take advantage of that more. 
Loving and Missing you always, 
Your Yaeli
P.S. You died way way before the digital age and I don't have one photograph scanned. Maybe it's time to do something about it. 


  1. So sorry that you lost your Dad so young and so tragically.
    It's true what Byron Katie says, and maybe that is the saddest part of living.
    Thank you for sharing!

  2. Thanks Jenny for your words, I am moved by your response. Thank you

  3. Oh, Byron Katie... truth is painful, but what else is there?

    Love to you my dear. And I'm sorry for your loss, even now. Thank you for writing.

  4. I agree..truth and love...they are the essence of our being. Thank you Shannon and much love to you!

  5. Good memories I have of him also. YOu touched my heart with this letter.
    Neshikot to you and your mom!

  6. Thanks Tal..I know you feel me, thanks for commenting. Hugs