“When I was the medical director of a Jerusalem nursing home, I often wondered about the behavior of one of the female residents,” told Dr. Schussheim. “Each time that her son and grandchildren would visit, she would cry bitterly. Almost daily I would ask her ‘Why do you cry? Your son is incredibly dedicated to you. He comes to visit you with his children. I’d imagine this would make you happy, but instead it seems to make you cry….”
“Finally one she confided in me, explaining the reason for her tears. Before World War 2 she was happily married to a successful lawyer in Poland. They had 3 sons and it often occurred to her that she was happy with 3 children and did not need more. One day, the young woman shared her thoughts with a local doctor who asked her ‘Do you not at least want to have a daughter?’. She had never considered this possibility.
Indeed she did give birth to another child but it was another boy, not a girl as she had hoped. Deep in her heart, the fourth-time mother was disappointed. Tragically her husband was killed, along with two of their sons. A third son fell defending Latrun in the years following the war. Only her fourth son lived, the one that she had considered an ‘extra’.
It was this son who visited so regularly and it was only as a result of him that this elderly lady merited seeing the growth of the next generation. How could she not cry each time she saw him and his children.”
Dr. Schussheim concluded, “I know this son personally and I doubt that he is aware of his mother’s experiences. Her story moves me each time I think of it. There is no such thing as an ‘extra child’. It is cases like this that give me strength to devote myself to EFRAT’s work of saving lives.”