Unfortunately all too many families, like the Palmer family, have had to experience the excruciating pain and shock that completely overtakes every fiber of your being when the terrible news that a family member(s) are tragically lost. In the blink of an eye many lives are forever changed.
What are the thoughts, the memories that run through the minds of the families as they recollect upon the lives of the victims? I cannot pickup my grandson. I cannot give either of them hugs and kisses and bounce my grandson on my knee. It’s not fair.
Michael Palmer (father of Asher and grandfather of Yonatan), agonizingly recounts in court about the murder of two precious and innocent lives, bringing to life within the walls of the military court the victim’s presence. Asher and Yonatan’s murderers were not acquainted with them; they murdered them merely because they were Jews.
While recalling the birth of his son, Michael exuded pride and unending love. It is a poignant and elated moment in every father’s life.
From the miracle of a his son’s creation, through the 9 months of protecting and nurturing within his mother womb, finally a new little life emerges into the world – and his life begins. No words can satisfactorily describe the joy and love which resonates in the heart of a father, as he looks upon his son.
Time and interaction create an unbreakable bond between a father and son. Sounds of laughter, as well as many tears, fill their lives as they face together the many challenges that life has to bring. That is what a father does.
One day the Michael turns around and his son is all grown up. The next stage of life begins. Asher must build a life with a good career to help support his family. Asher’s goal in life was to combine Torah and a career in the Israeli high-tech industry in order to strengthen Jewish life in the land of Israel. He will find himself a Kallah (Bride), get married and build his own family. Asher met his bride Puah, got married and began building his family. He too will know what it means to be father. For a very short time, Asher also knew what it meant to be a father.
This is the cycle of life.
THEN SUDDENLY IT IS ALL GONE!
Suddenly a life of joy and happiness becomes a life of tears, pain and unbearable grief. Shattered are all dreams; life’s goals and plans to build a family, a career and a home are gone – in one swift moment in time.
How do we carry on, asked Michael?
Friday September 23, 2011, the news of the heinous murder of Asher and Yonatan shatters Erev Shabbat, a day of joy and celebration of HaShem’s creation of the world.
Then the dreaded knock at the door, Asher’s mother opens the door and immediately she knows. She sees the officers standing in front of her and she knows why they are there.
Asher’s mother stands there in silence as the head officer asks her the usual precise and enquiring questions to be sure he is informing the right family.
A chilling scream of NO is exclaimed after receiving the horrific news; breaking the silence.
No consolation exists for the parents of the victims or their families, for murder is always
no preparation exists for this moment,
– someone has destroyed the life of your child in an act of violence,
– someone has intentionally committed this heinous crime.
Traumatized by the grief and disbelief the Palmer’s feel almost paralyzed. Please tell us this is all a dream, a sick joke. How can this be happening to us? They lose belief in humanity, and ask can anyone be trusted again? The loss becomes a process of dealing with both religious ceremonies and of course the justice system, if the murderers are caught.
First is the funeral. The funeral, often thought of as part of the healing process, is obviously not the thought on the minds of those who have lost a loved one. What is? Who really knows other than those who are suffering the loss? Everyone comes to their victimization with different life experiences. Two people experiencing similar victimization will inevitably have different reactions. How can a family begin coping with the pain, endless tears, grief beyond words, a feeling of helplessness and loss of control. As if by rote, everything occurs as it should and yet all events are like a blur of sequences. There is not way to bring back their loved ones. “We too are victims”, cry the victim’s family, “The question is can we become survivors?”Rivkah Rybak