In the words of a Palestinian peace activist - part 6My first reaction to the death of my brother, Joeseph
was to seek revenge. Joseph's murder presented a great challenge to my beliefs in peace and I found myself at a crossroad. I was devastated; his death was so senseless and unnecessary. Like many other Palestinians and Israelis equally I experienced overwhelming feelings of loss and tragedy. As I processed my grief, I eventually began to think that the only way to make it better was to try to save other people from experiencing the pain and sorrow that I was going through. I knew that people on both sides experience this kind of loss all the time, and I wanted it to stop. I could pick up a gun and join a fundamentalist movement and try to get my revenge, but doing so wouldn't make me any better than the killers of my brother. Doing that would only lead to more violence and more suffering.
Like Many Palestinians before me, I was at an important crossroad. I was extremely close to my brother; friends and neighbors were calling for revenge in retaliation for Joseph's death. But more senseless violence did not seem right to me. My Grandfather once said to me that wherever I go, I should build a church, a mosque or a synagogue. He explained that, by building a church you make friends with Christians, by building a mosque you make friends with Muslims, and by building a synagogue you make friends with Jews, I chose to make friends and not enemies with anyone who desires peace, whether Christian, Muslim or Jewish. It was almost an impossible decision to make because I was hurt and angry because of the injustice committed against my brother. But I needed a non-violent way to grieve. I began to think about how to end the violence once and for all and how to prevent others from feeling the same pain I felt, the more I thought about it, the more it became clear to me - the only way to end the violence was if people like me - people who paid the ultimate price - will choose the path of peace rather than the path of war and revenge.
So the death of my brother increased my belief of the importance of peace.
My mouth became my gun and my words the bullets. I felt that if killing one human is killing the whole world, than saving one human being is saving the whole world.
Grief is the price we pay
that is what often being said during the support group meetings. If I didn't love Joeseph so deeply, there was no pain.
Grief is not a sign of weakness but a human emotion that must be dealt with in order for us to once again laugh and enjoy life.
Sometimes that seems almost impossible, but over time and with hard work, I actually can enjoy the warm breeze and find joy.
I always look for signs of angel’s touch. If I smell my brother's aftershave, I feel he's close, when I hear a funny story, I actually laugh, I even reach out my hand to help another grieving person through those rough stepping stones of grief.
Grief is not to be feared, but to be looked at as a challenge. Am I to let it rule me like an ugly tyrant or am I willing to try to understand and sort out that grief?????? It is important to go through all the stages of grief because you must continue living and facing your days even though your loved one is no longer on this earth.
As days turn into months and years, I have turned my grief into a life filled with love, if for no other reason than because I loved Joeseph so-so much! The greatest honor for my brother is to live a good life in service of others who need my peaceful and loving healing touch.