We awoke to an early morning call from the hospital team at Sheba, alerting us that Eva’s condition was deteriorating. Coworker Zech and I drove there as quickly as we safely could, but we  arrived to find that she had slipped into eternity at 5:50am, just prior to us getting there. We sat with her mom for several hours while she sat holding Eva’s beautiful, lifeless body. The air was sacred and hallowed feeling. I thought about many things, but mostly I thought about the breath of God. It is His breath that fills us and sustains our lives while here on Earth. A popular worship song says “It’s Your breath in our lungs, so we pour out our praise; we pour out our praise.” Today it feels to be an easy thing to praise Him for breath in our lungs. Much harder when He takes that breath away. That is exactly what Dyki Eva sat doing today while holding her dead little baby. “Ahumdullah…ahumdullah”. Over and over again she expressed her praise to God, even while sobbing and blanketing her with kisses and tears. Costly praise. Very moving. The grief of our hearts feels as thick and suffocating as the air that greets us when we go outdoors. Words fail us and seem to fall short; our entire community feels shaken to its core.

I have been struck by how different Eva’s death has hit me, compared with the death of other patients I have worked with while back in the States. All life is precious. While many children may have moved me to tears back home, Eva’s situation and death has gripped me in a way I feel hard to vocalize. A direct result of living in community with our families. Truly something to be treasured. While the medical team today came and sincerely expressed their condolences, it was Zech and I who sat with her mom, all three of us freely weeping. We are to “Weep with those who weep”. How easy to do this with people we love. I think that is why Love is at the core of the greatest commandment. It is love that makes all the difference, and love that binds us together.

Dyki Eva chose to go quickly back to Kurdistan today, prior to the borders closing for shabbat. Because of this, there was very little time for her to pack and get ready to leave. We arrived back to our Ashdod home and walked in, only to be greeted by the all of the other mothers that are there. Dyki Eva had the cruel task of having to immediately go through Eva’s many clothes, toys, and special belongings-being forced to choose what to take and what to leave. All the mothers sat weeping with her while she did this, and the moment felt hallowed and sacred once again. The look on their faces told me what they were thinking: Eva’s outcome could happen to their child. This could happen to them. There was not a dry eye in the room and everyone jumped in, trying to help Eva’s grieving mother in any way possible. Once the packing was complete, we helped Dyki Eva in to the van and finished our farewell with our traditional tissue-waving goodbyes as they all drove away. Again we wept.

Like Job we say, “The Lord gives and the Lord takes away; blessed be the name of the Lord”.

This afternoon as I made challah bread in preparation for our shabbat, I praised the Lord for this upcoming rest. How we need to rest. We are entering our temporary rest, but today Eva entered into her permanent rest. With a whole heart, mind and body. How wonderful it will be when that last and final day dawns and there is no more weeping or grief. Until then may we continue praise the Lord at all times. Even when it is very costly.

Praise the Lord!