Mourning under a Full Moon

A little girl that I never met died one week ago today.

I only knew about Ayelet Galena and her struggle for life through her parents’ blog, Eye on Ayelet. I’d met Ayelet’s mother Hindy a few times, but knew Ayelet’s grandmother best (throughout the blog, affectionately called Bubbe Arna) – albeit many years ago, in what sometimes feels like a previous life, when we lived in the same city.

I don’t even remember how I first learned about Ayelet’s plight; at 6 months, her parents learned that she was born with an extremely rare and potentially fatal disease affecting her auto-immune system. After receiving a bone marrow transplant last summer, Ayelet’s parents began to record the highs and lows of what they hoped would be nothing more than the requisite 100 days hospital stay, post-transplant. Their postings alternated between heartbreaking and humorous, the comedy lightening up what was otherwise a gruelling, wrenching and intensively emotional experience for the entire family.

But they rallied, they prayed, they commuted to work, they ate their way through Ayelet’s post-transplant days, with an ever-expanding circle of friends and strangers, all of whom sent wishes, hopes, prayers and cute & frilly outfits for the beautiful but increasingly swollen two-year old girl. (And, as if they didn’t have enough on their plate already, in the middle of it all… their New York apartment burnt to a crisp.)

From the time I found out about Ayelet’s diagnosis and subsequent struggles, and through the last few months, I’d see photos of her on the blog and wish for a speedy recovery, a way to healing, an end to her suffering. I’d find myself thinking of this girl at some of the most surprising moments of my day; her face would float through my mind in the middle of a yoga class or a massage, while I walked through a rice field, when I watched a mother driving a scooter holding her infant daughter in her lap, and this evening – under the full moon.

Like the moon, Ayelet was a beam of light, a blessing and an inspiration, not only for her parents and family, but – it would seem, from the outpouring of grief, notes of sympathy, prayers – for many who, like me, never even met her. z’l




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