Iris Yifrach delivered the following speech at OneFamily on Memomrial Day. Her son, Eyal, was one of three teens kidnapped and killed in July of 2014.
Four years ago on the 15th of Sivan 5714 Eyal left his yeshiva in Hebron where he studied and headed home for Shabbat.
At the Alon Shvut Junction, he got into a car together with Naftali Frenkel and Gilad Shaer. They were kidnapped and murdered by terrorists.
For the next 18 (chai) days the whole country searched for our sons.
An entire nation joined together on this mission.
And I also searched for my son.
For 4 years you have been gone and the memories burn inside my heart
I remember how, when you entered the house, it was like the sun coming out.
Remember how your little sisters used to hang on to you, when your big backpack was on your back?
And I was in the corner of the kitchen waiting patiently for my turn, waiting for your warmth, your greatness.
In the great light you brought, you would ask – without words – “Mommy, I’m home. How are you?”
And in the precious moments during candle lighting on Shabbat, you would come out of your room dressed in white, and I was already imagining your father and I walking you down the aisle on the happiest day of your life.
Four years, and the memories keep striking me without letting up. I am still looking for you (like it was just yesterday that you disappeared.)
I see you walking among your friends, smiling and full of joy.
I see you sitting in the garden playing guitar and your eyes are closed.
I see your image at our Shabbat table and I hear you singing
I can almost feel the touch of your warm hands
I can see the corners of your mouth curving into a smile
And my longing goes on…
And only the grave stone reminds me of my constant pain
He is back
So what are you still looking for?!
And on Yom Hazikaron I am standing still, bleeding
Perhaps I am searching for myself?
For Iris who was once happy and joyful
For the family that was once whole
For the endless strength of a mother
For my faith that the sun will rise again
And on Yom Hazikaron, in front of your gravestone, eyes blurring the letters of your name Aleph-yud-lamed, it means strength.
And what am I looking for?
You live inside of me
You are a part of me
You will never disappear
Like you wrote in your diary on your last Yom Hazikaron ”Go outside and breath in the air, overcome, fall! Get up! Fall another 1,000 times! But know that if you fall 1,000 times it shows that you got up after every one of those times, is a sign that you have the strength to get up”
And just like in the good old days
When I could hold your hand and draw strength from you, without words
Thank you my son for who you are
Thank you for who I am
May your memory be a blessing.