Yoav Shimoni – RESILIENT A.F.: Stories of Resilience

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The Murder of my grandmother during the October 7th Terror Attacks was broadcasted to me and my whole family through my grandmother’s Facebook page.

It was the night between the 6th and the 7th of October, and I was in Toronto, preparing for an upcoming flight to British Columbia in the morning as the news of missiles hitting Israel started to come out. I messaged my friends and family to ensure their safety. After everyone’s safety was confirmed, and my mom even mentioned my grandmother’s concern for them in Tel Aviv above her safety, my sister mentioned that my grandmother posted something odd on Facebook. 

I then opened Facebook and witnessed the video of my grandmother’s murder by several terrorists who were standing above her with guns, yelling in Arabic as she was bleeding to death on the floor of her living room. At first, I was in shock. I was full of confusion and did not want to believe what I witnessed was real. I tried calling my parents. On the rare occasion that my father picked up, all I could hear was my mother’s screams in the background as she tried contacting other people in the kibbutz to get more information and alert them. After that, I could not sleep the entire night for the next few days on my travels. That time was full of concussion, fear, and shock. 

For several hours after my family and I saw the video, there wasn’t even an official confirmation that terrorists had infiltrated Israel. The feeling of uncertainty only compounded with time, as it took over a month to receive DNA confirmation (it took so long because the house with my grandmother in it was burnt by the terrorists after her murder) and begin the mourning period. 

The video kept playing in my head, and “what if” thoughts kept rising. Especially as my entire family and I stayed at my grandmother’s house for Rosh Hashana only a week before the attacks. After getting to British Columbia, I was fortunate to stay with my partner, who helped me cope. 

Just her presence and the knowledge that I was not alone at this time was more than I could ask for. 

Her father also flew over to help distract me and cope with the events. I also began meeting with a therapist to help come up with healthy ways to cope. Now, looking back, I believe I hindered my therapy’s effectiveness by accepting many interviews where I shared my story without having the chance to truly process what happened or even mourn for my grandmother. 

Which, in turn, made the therapy sessions feel repetitive and removed my ability to open up emotionally. I then began to focus on work and distance myself from social media. That helped a lot, but I think the thing that helped me cope the most was returning to Israel to attend my grandmother’s funeral as soon as they identified the body. This allowed me to be with my family at this time. Mourn with them, and not only them but everyone in Israel. I could see the remains of my grandmother’s house and the Kibbutz. This was a difficult experience, but it allowed me to get closure by seeing it with my own eyes. The ability to be in Israel during the war, seeing what the situation is really like on the ground, and not through a tilted media lens, helped relieve a lot of anxieties. 

Due to the general spirit caused by the war and most people having someone who died, was kidnapped, or is currently serving, it felt like there was no option but to be resilient. 

If I could leave you with one piece of advice about resilience, it would be to embrace and appreciate the people you love and who love you.

Are you ready to share your story of RESILIENCE? You can do that HERE.

Yoav Shimoni - RESILIENT A.F.: Stories of Resilience
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