For days now, I have been trying to write a hesped for Yossi. For some reason, this has proven impossible. There is so much I want to tell about him, and I don't know where to start.
Three years ago, when Yossi Chaim was first diagnosed with Leukemia, I sat with Michoel in MCV. I told him that often when a person is dx with cancer, they lose some of their friends, and people avoid them. Cancer carries with it a stigma. I have to say that our family has been blessed to find the exact opposite. People have come to us, running with open hands and offers to help. The people have just held me close and cried with me, like Yossi was their child. Friends who cooked and carpooled and babysat. No one looked the other way when I came into the room. Yossi was always welcomed everywhere. I am sure you all remember the shear terror I felt when Yossi's chemo wasn't working, and he started to have seizures. Rabbi Ron called a community fast, and Hashem granted Yossi a miracle! On that very day of the fast, Yossi started to improve. And from that day forth, Yossi was able to finally beat the monster in him. At least we had hoped and believed that.
Throughout this whole ordeal, Yossi had remained full of strength and courage. So many times people have commented on how strong I am. The truth is that I get my strength from Yossi Chaim. Yossi fought his battle with grace and dignity. He endured many painful procedures, and instead of crying, he would thank the doctor for helping him. Yossi would do whatever was needed, even if it was unpleasant.
When he had to have a CT scan done after his transplant, and he had been throwing up for days, he still tried to drink the contrast. I don't know if I could drink that stuff when I am healthy, let alone being very sick. The day Yossi got really sick after this transplant, he tried to sit up in his bed. When I asked him what he was doing, he said that he wasn't going to let cancer get the best of him. He wanted to do things for himself. When Dr. Grossman called us to tell us that the chemo wasn't working, I began to cry. I immediately called Joan and told her that I couldn't do Yonaton's Bar Mitzvah cake. I felt bad that I was leaving her in a bind just two weeks before, but she completely understood. Yossi was in the background, and he jumped up and down telling me to do the cake, he would be OK. He was down in Disney with the Ohr Meir Foundation when I told him he was going to transplant the next week. He gave me a resounding "YYYEEeeeessss!" He was so confident that he would be able to do everything. He wanted to do his school work while there, and had hoped to have a hook-up to the class. One of the reasons he chose MN over Seattle was that it was only hone hour behind and he would have to get up for school to start at 7:30 vs 5:30.
Yossi was always full of compassion. I have heard from several counselors at Camp Simcha how YOssi would have a smile and hello for everyone. One of the fondest memories I have of Yossi is when I was sleeping at the hospital, Yossi got up, went around the bed to find his tzitzis in the cabinet, and then back around his bed. He did this while menuvoring a very heavy IV pole. He then davened shacharis by the light of the window so as not to wake me. When he was done, my little tzaddikal climbed into bed with me.
Even though Yossi was almost 13, he was never ashamed of his love for me. He would often ask me to climb into bed with im and snuggle. A lot of times, it was extremely difficult because of the numerous tubes. That was how he was the most comfortable. I can't picture a time when YOssi would walk by in RTA and call out "Hi Mommy." I have to confess, sometimes I would call himout of class to tell him something but also tosqueeze in one extra kiss. He was very sensitive. Yossi knew when I was feeling down or upset. He would come up to me and ask me for a hug. YOssi's story isn't just about him, or how hard he fought. Yossi's story is about all of you. You never let us down. You have all stood by our sides, and helped us fight this battle. I feel like I am not alone in my loss, Yossi was sort of like a son to everyone who met him, either in person or via the internet. I continue to be in awe and amazement over what you have all done. I feel so connected to richmond when I heard that you had ut the sayings in the school for all to see. The lovely e-mails from home about how you all refused to let him go. I don't want anyone here to think that Chas V'shalom Hashem didn't listen. He listened to every word that was said, and He collected every tear that we cried. We have no idea how much of Yossi's load we might have taken off him by all these actions. Someone explained to me that our lives are like the story of Purim. We see some of the story and it looks crazy. But once you get to the end of the megillah, it all falls into place. I know Hashem has a plan. There is a reason. Not one of us knows this reason. We asked with all that we had, ane Hashem's answer was no. YOssi accomplished in less than 13 years what some people don't accomplish in a lifetime. I feel very honored that Hashem choose to grant me such a precious soul.
The truth is, that Yossi would be very embarrassed with all this attention he is getting. Yossi always considered himself to be like one of the guys. He didn't want to be treated different or special. He tried to be the best that he could in all that he did. Even in his departure he left the best possible way. He was surrounded by those who loved him. He had heard hisfavoritie sones. It truly was beautiful, like a kiss from Hashem. I know that he is in a better place. He is on his way up to the kesay hakovod. He will be going up wearing his incredible smile and a crown of light. The light of all the prayers, good dees, and charity YOU all gave. I want to thank all of you for helping us.
Good night Yossi, Mommy loves you!