15-year old bereaved daughter: “Everyone has a father and a mother – and I do not. And it all happened because of one casual dinner.”

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15-year-old Lihi Ben Ari, who’ve lost her father, Ido, in the Sarona terrorist attack wrote a letter at OneFamily Summer Camp.

“My name is Lihi Ben-Ari, I am 15 and a half and I live in Moshav Matzliach, near Ramle.

Just over a year ago, just like every Wednesday, my Dad took me and my brother to eat at a restaurant in Sarona Market in Tel Aviv.

That day, two terrorists started shooting at the Max Brenner restaurant, which was adjacent to the restaurant where we sat – and my father was murdered.

I remember we went to the hospital. We waited in the waiting room for a few hours.

At one point, a relative came out with tears in his eyes and told us it was over.

I understood what had happened but I did not want to believe it. Everyone began to cry and I realized that my dad would not come back.

I remember wanting to go see him and they would not let me.

I did not believe it was happening. I felt like I was in a film that I did not belong to, like it was a bad dream.

Every time something happened to me, happy or sad, my dad was always the first person I wanted to tell. Now I have no one to tell what I’m going through, and this is one of the greatest challenges.  It makes coping with his loss even more difficult. He was the one who always gave me advice, reassured me, and always gave me the answers I needed.

At first, I tried to share my fears and concerns with others but it wasn’t the same as talking to him.

In the first weeks after the attack, I would call him, remember and hang up.

Today, I can share things within OneFamily more than anywhere else.

My father was killed on 8/6 and every eighth of the month I stop and think about the path that is already behind me.

The beginning of the road was terrible, I felt that the sky was falling on me, I did not know how to move on and I did not want to move on.

Everything was difficult, even going from my room to the living room seemed like a major task.

After the mourning period ‘shiva’ was over I did not want to do anything. I was not in the mood to go anywhere. My friends came to take me for a walk. At first they forced me to come, but slowly I joined them from my own will.

And we would do things together, meet everyone, talk about what was happening. We would share happy times together, and their friendship made me feel good.

And there was a moment when I felt I was not at the beginning of the road. That was at the end of the “shloshim- the 30 day memorial period.”

I felt that it had been a long time since I had seen my dad. I did not hear his voice. It felt like a long and hard time.

The day after the ‘Shloshim’ ended, I went with a friend to Eilat. On the way I was able to let go a little and I started to feel like myself again.

At first I felt bad that I was happy, listening to music and smiling.

Still … I did not understand how people continue their lives as usual.

How was the most precious person in the world taken away in a few seconds?

Why were we there that day?

And the question that is with me every day – why my father?

Everyone has a father and a mother – and I do not.

And it all happened because of one casual dinner.

I joined OneFamily last year and went to the Chanukah camp which was my first camp.

My counselor convinced me to come and told me about atmosphere at OneFamily and I decided to try.

My first camp was very meaningful to me.

Suddenly I met people who had experienced similar things, and I saw how they continued to enjoy and laugh.

I looked at the struggles of other people around me and realized that there was a whole life ahead of me.

And that I have two options – to live or to die. And I preferred to live.

I got used to living with the pain and my mood improved a bit.

Time helps a little but here I learned to live with the pain.

And there are times when I still feel like I will fall. But I try not to sink into myself. I keep busy with a lot of things.

And my father will always be with me in my heart. And every little memory gives me the kind of strength to continue, even if it’s hard.

We all have things in our lives that seem obvious to us …

I always took for granted that I had two parents. And a family. I used to take for granted that I get up every morning, and that I’m healthy.

Today I take nothing for granted. And I know that everyone has his story and his path.

My wish and hope for all of us is that we learn to experience living in the moment and filling our every day to its fullest and that we will have success in the FUTURE.

Thank you all for letting me share my story with you.”

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