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Turning Tides: Free to Fly

As told to Leah Gebber

“My soul craves beauty,” my mother said each morning, as she flung open the pretty blue shutters and breathed in the crisp mountain air. Mother’s soul may have craved beauty, but she inflicted ugliness. By the time I arrived home each night, she was being terrorized by her inner demons. Against the backdrop of lush meadows and crystal waterfalls, I became a girl who learned how to clean up after my mother’s abuse — to wash the cuts carefully, apply antibiotic cream, and tape fresh gauze over the wound

Tuesday, July 02, 2013

birds The attacks stopped by the time I was 14 — my mother’s cancer put an end to them. It also ended her life; she passed away two years later. The principal of my school graciously invited me to move in with her. She saved me from untold ordeals, but I was never truly comfortable in her home. When a shidduch was suggested with a young, budding talmid chacham I was very excited by the possibility of marriage and a new life. But I was 17, and my principal told me to wait. “You’ve got all your life ahead of you,” she said. She put her hand on my shoulder. “And I think you need more time to heal.”

I agreed to take things slowly, but I wasn’t interested in putting my life on hold. We met. He was a nice boy, he seemed kind, and suddenly, I had a tantalizing image dancing before me: a home of my own. A person who cared for me. It was an image I wouldn’t, couldn’t easily dispel and we got engaged soon after.

Yair was a superpower — a comet speeding through space, leaving observers (me, included) breathless by the shower of light in the night sky. I couldn’t believe he’d chosen me as his wife. We moved to a fledgling community — where Yair’s talents were in strong demand. In the evening — after his predawn chavrusa and full day at his accounting office — he spent his evenings chairing every committee you could think of. Building the shul, distributing tzedakah funds, raising money to set up an elementary school. He had time for everything and everyone — except me.

I was so emotionally paralyzed by my childhood that I didn’t realize how much I craved warmth and companionship. I kept telling myself to be proud of what he did and who he was. I found a job, ran our home, and soon enough, discovered I was expecting twins. 


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