Hannah's Special Christmas
This my all time favourite peace that I have ever written. I believe in miracles.
He is an accountant
This article was written in 2004
I know very little about her, even her own son is not sure if she was born on August 29, 1926, or August 26, 1929. Judging by his age and that of his brother, I believe she was born in 1926.
I am a writer and a student of human nature. I care to learn about people; where they come from, what they think about, and what they do. Matt on the other hand, is an accountant who deals with numbers and he is an accomplished artist. He paints beautiful pictures, yet he doesn't have the same desire to learn about people as I do.
Hit by a car and left to die
To me it is very strange that a son would not know the birthday of his mother. For him things like birthdays are not that important. He tells me his mom does not celebrate birthdays. However there was a time that she did celebrate one very special birthday.
I cannot imagine what it was like for a Jewish girl growing up in Iraq, a Muslim country. All I know is that when Hannah was 14, her family hired an Arabic language teacher for her to study under. They felt learning Arabic, the official language of the country would serve her well; and so it did. Years later, she married that Muslim man and had two boys; Matt and his older brother Munir.
The family was considerably wealthy. Matt's father was a well respected lawyer and a pillar in his community. The boys had the best that life could offer and they were very much loved.
Much to his chagrin, the father also knew that one day his sons would grow to be men and would have to serve in the Iraqi army. Being a peace loving, god fearing man, he did not want that for his boys. Therefore, a plan was set in place so that the boys would each study in England and get away from Iraq for good.
Since Munir was four years older than his brother, he left for England when Matt was still a young child. Matt continued to prosper at home. He was his father's pride and joy. At six years old he played chess and held intelligent conversations with his father's friends. His intellect surpassed his tender years. By the time he had finished elementary school, Matt further proved his superior intelligence by placing first in the Iraqi school system. He also had plans for studying in England and becoming a doctor, like his older brother.
When Matt reached England he attended one of the best schools in the country for foreign students. He worked and studied very hard to achieve his dream. He had such big plans that were well within his reach until the day his entire world was changed forever.
At 13, when his illustrious future should have been waiting in front of him, his life almost came to an end. He was hit by a car and left for dead in the middle of an English highway. The driver sped by without a second thought.
Hannah and her husband flew in from Iraq to be with their son. The doctors said the prognosis was bad. They didn't expect Matt to live.
Rabbi in the sky
As any mother will tell you, doctor's prognosis or not, a mother never gives up on her son and will try any means in which to keep him with her. Hannah was no exception. Here she was a mother of two boys living in a different country and one of them, her youngest, her baby, was about to die. She just couldn't wrap her mind around that terrible thought. It just couldn't happen.
The family visited their son everyday while he was in the hospital and in a state of a coma. The English nurses were very compassionate with Hannah.
Hannah was a grieving mother, in a strange new land. There was so much that Hannah did not know or understand about the West and England in particular. She could not even speak English. But one thing she did comprehend was that it was December, and Christmas time for people in the West.
The hospital was decorated for the Christmas season and everyone was in a festive mood. While here she was, a Jewish woman married to a Muslim man with a dying child in a Christian hospital. Sometimes, life could be ironic like that.
Instead of cursing this strange new land for putting her son in such a terrible situation, Hannah embraced the customs of the country. She prayed to the god of the Christians, whom she had known to be a simple Rabbi all her life. She prayed to Jesus and begged that if he spared her son's life she would celebrate Christmas from that point forward.
Matt survived the accident. He came out of a coma nine months later, but his struggle was not over. The doctors said once again said that the prognosis was dismal. He was not expected ever to walk again. The muscles and tendons in his legs were crushed beyond repair. But the family did not give up. Matt did not give up.
Hannah did not lose her new found faith in Jesus and remained steadfast in her prayers to Jesus for the continued health of her son. After two years of intense physical therapy and six major operations, Matt walks with a limp, and uses a cane, but the miracle is; he walks.
How did the family turn out? Matt and his parents migrated to Canada. Years later Matt's father returned to Iraq to die in his homeland. Munir is a very prominent doctor and renown professor in the United States. He is married to a Christian woman also a doctor, and has two children.
Matt is divorced from his first wife, a Jewish woman and has two grown children. He is now my boyfriend and lives here in Montreal. After all those operations and time spent in the hospital (over 2 years) he lost his desire to become a doctor. He chose to be an accountant and painter instead.
Hannah, has been a widow for over 15 years. She celebrates both Chanukah and Christmas. She lives with Matt. To her dying day, she will never forget the miracle she received that Christmas back in 1963. One day she will meet the great Rabbi in the sky who gave her back her beloved son.
All photos taken from the public domain
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