Houston January 20, 2002

Dear Susie, Moshe, Boaz, and Maya, and all the others who were lucky enough to know Yonatan,

Five years! And as I sit wondering what I could possibly say that would shed new light or provide new comfort I am struck by something. I still miss Yonatan. I don't mean that I am sorry for your loss or that I wish he had had the chance to enjoy a full life. Of course I feel these things. But I miss Yonatan. And remarkably he is still a real force. He is still with me. It sounds crazy that you miss what is with you but it seems to work that way. It is the very fullness of his presence that makes it still hurt so much.

Five years is a long time and, naturally, at times I have to struggle to keep sharp the edges of some of my images of Yonatan. I feel aspects of Yonatan drifting away. I know this is natural - part of the healing process. But the tears still come, the anger still eats away, the empty space that is loss is still just out there. However, most important of all, the inspiration still leads me. It is a testament to Yonatan that he was such a full personality, not "just" a youth waiting to develop into a man, waiting to become himself. Like any 21 year-old he was still struggling with uncertainty about the details. Self-image is an issue we all grapple with but Yonatan had a firm moral compass, a clear sense of the basics, the very essence of humanity. It is absolutely clear who Yonatan was going to be, what he would continue to stand for. This is what continues to inspire me. This was not the black and white of adolescence but the tolerant, understanding, loving, and fully-colored understanding of maturity.

Five years and now I have a son old enough to go off to the army. I am beginning to understand even more fully what your loss is all about. My mind turns away when I try to force it to approach the edge of that dark space. I am newly horrified. I am also newly in awe. I wrote a year ago that Yonatan is with me. I understand better today than a year ago how Yonatan provides me with a standard by which to view my own actions. It is a theme that I have noticed in what others also write about him. What an accolade for any human being!

All my love,
Mark

       
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