There is that moment, that terrible moment. I admit that I, too, have thought about it more than once, as everyone has, with raw fear: The piercing cry of a new baby resounds in the room, along with the triumphant shout of the midwife and nurses and the lingering groans from the mother. And then suddenly – suspicious silence. Something undefined hangs in the air.
“What happened?” the mother panics.
“Tell us!” the father demands.
The next day, a terrible, horrible meeting takes place, and a new reality takes form, ominous and mysterious. The fate of an entire family hangs in the balance.
“When the doctor informed me that our child has a genetic syndrome,” Yael recalls, “the sky came crashing down on my head. It is a moment that you cannot capture in words. Everything crumbles and the world grinds to a halt, frozen in place. We have a family of four children at home. This baby is our fifth. Questions whirl around in our mind: What? How? Suddenly we are catapulted onto another planet. And we don’t know the rules. His needs… the other children’s needs… our needs. Our thoughts chased each other like a goulish nightmare. Round and around. Genetic. That means it can’t be fixed. Ever. Years and years. A lifetime. Always. How can we…?
Shock enveloped us with its numbness. Then came the stage of internalizing the reality, and then that watershed moment when I said to myself: ‘Hey, wait. Maybe Ezer Mizion.’
I was familiar with the organization because of my own volunteer work with them. I didn’t know exactly which of their divisions dealt with this kind of problem, but I knew one thing: We are not alone. We went home and that same day, we met with an Ezer Mizion representative.
From that moment and on, the story took a sharp turn. Ezer Mizion filled an all-embracing place in our difficult experience. It started with guidance and psychological help, continued with help caring for the older children and help for the entire family.
From the moment our precious Hillel came home, Ezer Mizion became our primary partner in raising him: support, referrals, therapists, developmental aides, cognitive and motor support, problem-solving, nursery, kindergarten, school, afternoon clubs, days of respite, everything. Thanks to all this, we were able to tap into resources that we never knew we had and unleash the strength that lay deep within.
Bringing up Hillel, our little prince, became a source of empowerment for us and all our children. In the course of the dedication and acceptance, we came to understand what a gift we were given and what a special soul came to the world and found its home with us.”
“Sometimes I close my eyes and imagine what would have been if Ezer Mizion was not in the picture when all this happened. It is a frightening scenario. Why think about it? Better to focus on how far Hillel has come and how today he reads, sings, prays, and laughs and to thank Hashem again and again for his good emissaries.”
From everything Yael said, one line caught my eye in particular: “We are not alone.” This is the feeling of so many families in Israel, who see Ezer Mizion as their partner in pain and challenge, a partner who sometimes serves as both father and mother. If you ask me, this is the gist of Ezer Mizion’s magnificent story. This year, Hillel will celebrate his Bar Mitzvah. The family is getting ready for the festivities, which will also celebrate the victory of Hillel and his parents and siblings. It will be a celebration of the gratitude and victory of the spirit of one believing and endlessly loving family and Ezer Mizion, their dedicated partner.