Susi Doring - Jerusalem, Israel
GRIEF IS THE CLOSEST THING TO GOD
“Dr. Avivah Zornberg said, ‘The feeling of grief is the closest thing to God.’ Your soul is ripped open, you’re not who you are anymore, your whole concept of life around you and what is normal is completely inside out. You’re so vulnerable to everything. When you’re in severe grief you can feel what people are feeling, and how they look at you, and the meaning behind their eyes, and what they’re thinking.
Because of that grief, I felt really close to God. Any time a leaf blew across the street I would feel it and watch it. I would just sit there because I felt like I was so dead inside that I’d notice all of the life around me. Like any rustle, or the sky, and the people walking around. I was feeling like I was watching a movie in slow mo’. So for me, because I was in the worst state, I never even knew that the human body or emotions could sink that low. I felt that I was in God’s hands. There was a time where I was purely in God’s hands because I had no faith in myself. My soul was gone….”
I met Susi Doring in Jerusalem just a day before her wedding. Susi’s path to that day was anything but ordinary. She was born in El Paso, Texas and was traveling in Asia when she met an Israeli named Tziki. They fell in love and she moved to Israel. But tragically, Tziki was killed during his military reserve duty. As a non-Jew and as a girlfriend (not a spouse), she had no rights that are afforded to family and citizens. Susi became active in an organization of girlfriends who had lost their partners in military duty. That is how my friend and producer in Israel, Arnie Draiman, came to know of Susi and her story.
After some time, Susi made the decision to stay in Israel and convert to Judaism. The day I interviewed Susi was, in fact, the day before her wedding to someone she had met during the years subsequent to that great tragedy in her life.
I was touched so deeply by Susi’s experience of grief and how she came out of it whole. Susi renewed my faith in a Higher Power that is always holding us.