By Ruchama Benhamou, Managing Editor
As I enter those hospital doors, I can’t fathom to convey the feelings that rush through my heart. A part of me has no idea what I am doing there. The surreal allusion that fades into reality sparked by the cold chill of its halls. As I walk to see her, the girl I’ve known for over half of my life, each step I take fills with the past memories of all the years we spent together. One specific memory recurs often in my mind: the first time we met. It was a warm summer day in camp and I saw her sitting on the bench on our bunk’s porch. It was my first time away in camp and I was nervous and homesick. I heard her voice singing a beautiful melody. So pure and calming. I immediately went outside to sit with her, and we have been friends ever since.
Some might think it is impossible to be in the presence of cancer and chemotherapy. Especially of a friend who you’ve looked up to your whole life (and still do). The truth is, for me it’s the opposite. It’s hard to be away from her.
My heart is always so full when I see her. For I love her with everything I have. Every time I am with her, my heart aches. Not of pain or heaviness. Sadness or despair. But a love between friends that is unconditional. There is this feeling that I cannot express fully with words when I am with her. She makes me feel complete. I can be my whole self with her. Unbounded. Unfiltered. Purely existing in the presence of each other. I never thanked her for this gift of peace and solace she gave me. Of life, love, and joy. I finally understand what it means when they say home is a feeling or a person. You are my feeling of home, Chana Malka. No matter when, no matter where.
You have made me a better version of myself. You have taught me what it means to be present in the moment. To allow your emotions to flow through the confines of even the smallest spaces, and penetrate to the hearts of all around you. I am honored to call you a close friend. And I am so proud of you. You are the strongest and most beautiful person I know. You have smiled and laughed through all of the struggles you endured. You fight and never give up, even when things are the worst they’ve ever been. I will forever look up to you. I will forever be at your side through all of life’s struggles. Our paths were destined to be intertwined and I pray it lasts for eternity.
To many more memories with you.
I love you, always.