Thursday, July 23, 2015

"Life Is Good and Worth Living"

My husband and I saw this extraordinary, beautiful young man and his friends on a documentary show on Israeli television last week and I was crying my eyes out.

These guys went to a military high school and were from all different parts of Israel, and from all different backgrounds. When they met, they knew they would be friends forever. They were all in the military high school on the officer's training track.

Pretty much out of the blue, Omri started experiencing strange symptoms-his legs were shaking, and other strange stuff. He went to the hospital and the diagnosis was swift and conclusive: ALS.

The friends decided that they were not going to wait for the illness to get worse and went with Omri and a bunch of other friends on a huge trip to South America. About a year later, there was a real deterioration. The friends decided to move in together, and between them, they take care of their friend. They have one hired caregiver, but between them and their extended group of 10-20 guys, they do everything.

The most touching thing about it was that his friends didn't know why anyone would want to do a documentary about them. They said it was completely not extraordinary that they were taking care of their friend-it's what friends do. They were adamant.

I keep thinking about that idea, because that's often how I feel when people make really well-intentioned remarks about not being able to do what I do, or how do you do that, i.e take care of a disabled child. I know it's meant to be a compliment, I really do understand that. But it generally has the opposite affect and makes me feel terrible. And of course, I forgive those who do so because I understand that their praise comes from a sincere place of love and respect.

It really should be nothing remarkable that I love and take care of my son. It should be nothing remarkable that people take care of their infirm parents or other disabled relatives or friends.

I don't remember the last time I was so profoundly moved by a story of human resilience and friendship. It was utterly heartbreaking and inspiring all at the same time.

Omri said in the documentary that he is often asked if he thinks about 'why' this happened to him, and not to his friends. He said that he knows that he's the only one who could have handled it, and that while lots of people have ALS, nobody has friends like his. 

My heart is both aching and swelling with pride for this young man, his friends and family.

Remarkable, loving, humans.

"Life is Good and Worth Living". 

Here is the link to the show in Hebrew, and I know that not a lot of my readers are fluent in Hebrew.

However, knowing the story, I believe you can get a feel for Omri and his incredible friends just by watching them interact. It's just under 40 minutes and you will not regret a single minute that you spend getting to know these wonderful human beings, G-d bless and keep them all.