Maya Moreno-Ohana talks of her bereavement to OneFamily Youth Division counsellors

OneFamily’s Youth Division, counsellors and coordinators gathered at the Jerusalem headquarters for a day long seminary.
One of the highlights of the day was a meeting with Maya Moreno-Ohana, the widow of Lt.Col. Emmanuel Moreno, killed in combat at the end of the Second Lebanon War in 2006. The couple has three children. Moreno served in the IDF’s elite Sayeret Matcal. Until today his photo and details of military operations he participated in, are barred from publication.
Years later, Maya married a second time to Eliran Ohana, a contractor nine years her junior. They have two children.
The young counsellors listened to Maya’s story, how she copes with her bereavement and how her children responded to their father’s death. She spoke of how they chose to call her second husband Eliran ‘father.”
“‘In our home we have two fathers. The father who gave birth, and the father who raises them. Both are present in our home,” she says. It is complicated and not always simple, but that’s life, she said.
The counsellors, who care for children at the youth division, listened quietly, relating what she told them to the children they care for. One of them asked Maya about the ethos surrounding her dead husband, and if it changes the way her children grieve for him.
The fact that details of her late husband and his photo cannot be published did not affect the children she says. “They never felt they were different. “ In the day following her husband’s death she said she did everything in her power to protect her children from the limelight. “I don’t think they feel differently from anyone else who suffered bereavement in the family. No one is above anyone else,” she said.
“Bereavement is not something new, it is a process,” she says.
If one of the children does something that reminds her of her late husband, she tells them.
“Your role is to be a good listener,” she tells the counsellors, “to be there for them and get to know them.”
“At OneFamily everyone has lost someone,” she said. “You should know your work touches the soul, and that is something really significant,” she says.


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