Do you know the most enjoyment you can get out of a delicious cake? It’s not what you think, unless you really think.
We’re at one of the best hotels at the Dead Sea, maybe one of the best in Israel. I thought it would be great to get away from the dark cloud that I see hanging over my house and over Neve Daniel. An escape. Literally, an oasis in the desert.
But you don’t escape. You can’t. Everywhere I look I see happy couples and families. Good for them. I’m glad they are having a good time. But it is like a knife turning in my side. What the hell did I ever do to deserve this?? Anyone???
When we were at a hotel last time, I remember going down the buffet line and finding something that I knew Stella would enjoy. The best part was not eating the chocolate mousse cake myself — it was hearing Stella say “mmmm” and seeing her smile when I gave her a piece. Like anything, real enjoyment in life comes from sharing experiences with someone. And after sharing experiences with a special someone for almost thirty years, life just seems bleak and empty and dark now.
You know something? I hope that no readers of this blog ever experience true love. (although I know some have and already know what I’m talking about. You’re forever in the club that no one wants to join. This is not for you.) True love is not holding hands and dancing in the park. That’s good, but it’s not at the top of the scale. I would rate even the happiest marriages on my own scale of an 8 out of 10. No, you don’t want to achieve the 10. Trust me.
What is true love? True love is holding your wife’s tattered body over the toilet while she mutters nonsense — AND STILL LOVING HER. True love is counting the seconds between each breath and wondering if you’ve just seen her die — again and again and again and again. Day after night after day after night. True love is giving your spouse a shower and then tucking her into bed loaded with morphine and waiting till you’re at a friend’s house to scream your head off because of what you have seen happen to the body you once adored and held close. Trust me — NO ONE WANTS THIS EXPERIENCE.
And then you try and go to a hotel to “have some fun” and “get away.” But how much fun can you have without your best friend? You can look at the sky and call her name and talk to her and hear her telling you that everything will be ok, but you just don’t believe it. Because the days and nights get worse, not better.
Because no matter how close your friends are or even how close you hug your children — you are alone. Completely cut off because no one who has not been in your shoes can really understand what it’s like.
And after your “vacation” you will send the kids back to school and go back to work and buy groceries and walk the dog and just try and live.
But the cake will never taste the same.
Yarden Frankl, Ein Bokek, Israel