bus station in jerusalem
bus station in jerusalem צילום: Shutterstock

Chani stood next to her parents at the bus stop, the summer night breeze gently blowing her tulle black midi dress. Her makeup was still made up perfectly on her face from the engagement party, but as she hugged her mother goodbye, she couldn’t prevent a tear from spilling down her cheek.

“Please, Mommy,” she whispered, hoping people nearby wouldn’t be listening.

“Don’t leave me.”

Chani’s mother pulled her away, her ice blue eyes staring deeply into her daughter’s. Her eyes were swimming with sadness, and she looked so, so tired.

“I am so sorry, Chani,” she whispered back.

“I am so sorry we can’t be there for you when you need us. We’re so happy for you...But Shimon, he’s so little…He needs us now. I hope you can understand.” she said, voice shaking.

“It’s okay, Mommy. I know. I just wish things were different. Bu, it’s true. I need you so much now…But Shimon needs you even more.”

Chani gave both of her parents one last hug before they boarded the Egged bus and drove off into the horizon towards the airport. She waited until they were just a green speck on the sandy Mediterranean hill and then slowly walked towards her apartment building.

What would she do now?

Chani’s 9-year-old little brother, Shimon had been undergoing difficult treatments for a serious heart condition overseas and his parents have been there to support him every step of the way, leaving Chani in charge of her three younger siblings at home. The family’s Rav and social worker both agreed that this was the best setup for the entire family, though challenging. Chani’s parents knew how hard it was on her and the rest of her siblings at home and tried to shower them with as much love as they could, calling them on the phone every night and making sure to send mail and homemade cookies as much as they could.

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But when Chani got engaged, she started to feel the lack of her parents’ presence more than ever. As the bus disappeared from her horizon on the night of her engagement party, she never felt more alone. Even though she had David, and he was amazing, he wouldn’t be able to support her in a way like a parent could, at least not until they got married.

That night, Chani took her feelings to her journal, where she wrote a moving passage about her feelings. To read Chani’s personal letter, click here.