Unfortunately, I’m used to getting told about the violent deaths of people I don’t know, stabbings at the bus stops where my children and I stand regularly, pictures of blood stains on streets that I pass daily, but the name of this woman sounded familiar when I read it. Dafna? Wait, could that be? I went back through my e-mails with a growing sense of horror and then looked up online to realize that my memory was actually accurate. This was the woman I had been emailing with for the past few months, discussing women’s health issues. She was definitely my kindred soul in increasing access to non-hormonal contraceptives for women. I like meeting other professionals who feel a bit on a crusade like I sometimes do.
We played phone tag, making times to talk, to “meet” with one another but our two busy lives got in the way. This Sunday morning, after a month-long hiatus, I had an e-mail from her. “When are we speaking? We need to discuss this issue!” I smiled to myself and called her later in the day. No answer. So I emailed her and told me I was available all day. She didn’t call. I waited, figured she’d gotten involved in something else.
Now I can’t stop thinking about her. Was she fighting for her life when I called?
I’ve been reading articles about her life all day. I wanted to talk with her before; now, I want to be her friend. I didn’t know we had sons in the same yeshiva, I didn’t know she worked as a nurse in the hospital. I didn’t know she was fostering two children and that she had been adopted herself.
I want to ask her questions, to continue the friendly argument we started online. I want that normal life back when I don’t know people who’ve been stabbed in front of their homes when I don’t clench up every time someone says, “Did you hear?” I want to be able to delay an important conversation with a colleague and not worry that they won’t be around to have it later. I want Dafna to continue to post her blog, to plan with me how we continue on this mission, to help me think about I can reach more women, to share our resources, to grow as people, to discuss our sons’ school.
Most of all, I just want to say, I’m sorry, Dafna, that I didn’t call sooner.