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The Late Violet Muallem

Thank you very much for your wonderful journal. I enjoy very much reading it and so do my children who are 22 and 25 years old. They are very interested in our rich culture and they give it proudly to their friends to read.

This time I am writing to you to cancel a membership. It is for my late dear mother who died recently in Israel, she used to read it religiously and always discusses it with us.

She was very popular, not only with her friends, but with our friends too. The photograph shows her in the middle with the four of us. Left to right: Nadia; Isaac; Adel; Norma. Also, I wrote a bit about her and us. (I left my address and number at the end to correspond with whoever is in the same situation.

My mother Violet Muallem lost a fierce battle against cancer in Israel at the age of 75. If she was 175 it would still be too early for us! My mother was a remarkable ESHETH HAYIL with endless good qualities. A typical Iraqi housewife with the obsession of perfecting a good home. She had a great love of life involving herself with everything. She had lots of friends that I still call Aunties and they call me Binti. Best of all, she was a good friend to us as we were growing up and we felt we could tell her anything without fear. Our friends were always welcomed in our house and they all have fond memories of her. She taught us to be charitable and help people whichever way we can, even only with a kind word. Zionism was quite strong in our home, and her best moment was arriving to her dream land Israel in August 1971.

Five years ago, she had cancer but had chemotherapy and was declared clear afterwards. We celebrated her recovery and we believed the saga was over. But, two years ago, the cancer came back with a vengeance. This disease doesn't involve only the patient, but the whole family suffers too. I admire my two brothers, Adel and Isaac, because they put their lives on hold to be by her side and fulfil her every whim. I juggled between my job and family and travelled to Israel as often as I could, as did my sister Norma from Toronto. Yet, it didn't make any difference, we were all helpless, we saw her in pain and slipping away, but there was nothing we could do. It was like being on an emotional rollercoaster. One day good news and we hung on to it, hoping beyond hope for a miracle; the next day, we tumble down again.

She never lost hope until last January, I was with her when the doctor told her the cancer had reached the point of no return. No more treatment, just giving her Morphine to control the pain to the end. I was angry because he was so blunt with her. She thanked him for being so frank and not hiding anything. Her first thoughts were the grandchildren, how will they handle the news. She was frail and upset, yet she took it upon herself to explain it to each one of them separately and help them with their grief. She encouraged us to express our grief to her so that she could help. She had remarkable courage, she deteriorated painfully slow, until she accepted defeat and agreed to go to the hospice knowing that was her last stop.

She stayed sharp to the end and paid attention to her numerous visitors who still got a lot of warmth and strength from her. Cancer was winning over her body, but not her spirit. She never stopped saying, "Thank God for everything."

Nadia Nathan (nee Muallem)

12 Highfield Gardens

London NW11 9HB

Tel: 0181 455 7742

e-mail -



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