That moment is now, just one week after the death of my 28-year-old niece, Naomi.
There are no words of consolation, no words that can convey the terrible depths of sorrow this bereavement has brought to my sister and her family, as well as to the wider family of uncles, aunts, cousins, nieces and nephews, not to mention her husband, myriad friends, colleagues and even acquaintances.
Naomi and her husband of two years, David, had returned a few weeks earlier from six months of trekking around South America. The photos they took there show two beautiful young people, in love with one another and with life, and happy to be fulfilling their dream of travelling around together. That is how I will always remember Naomi.
Her life was taken suddenly and tragically by a rare medical condition, a pulmonary embolism, which it is unusual to encounter in one so young. The blood clot that blocked her lungs caused her death despite all the efforts of the emergency medical team and the intensive care unit of the hospital to which she was rushed.
The irony of it all is that Naomi was a trained nurse, and the people who attended to her in her final hours were staff members who had worked with her in the hospital. The sorrow that they expressed was genuine and deeply-felt.
Above all, Naomi was a young woman with many talents as well as being beautiful, clever, kind and exceptionally sweet-natured. She was especially gifted in art and designed all the wedding invitations for the various members of her family, created quilted covers for the babies born in the family and brought her well-developed aesthetic sense to everything she did.
Naomi was loved by many people. Her close family, of course, first and foremost. But also by others. I cannot look at the photos from her wedding, seeing her radiant happiness, without tears starting in my eyes. At the Shiva, the seven-day period in which, in accordance with the time-honoured Jewish tradition, her parents, husband and siblings sit, hundreds of people from all walks of life come to express their condolences. At times the family displays amazing composure, at others they are unable to stem their tears, Many of the visitors who come to console the mourners shed tears, too. Over a thousand people attended her funeral, and not a single eye remained dry when her brother eulogized her or when her father asked all those present to sing her favourite song, ‘A Woman of Valour’ at her graveside.
No one, whether they knew Naomi or not, remains unmoved at the thought of a young woman, just about to embark on the fulfillment of her dreams, cut off so suddenly. Anyone who knows the Shamir family can see what a warm and close-knit group they are. I hope and pray that this sense of togetherness will give them strength and help them overcome their terrible loss.