A song to lift the soul

ICEJ Homecare

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18 Dec 2012
A song to lift the soul

The walls of Anna and Evgeni’s living room are covered with framed photographs. They are all of the same beautiful woman. My attention was quickly drawn to a specific one, a black-and-white image closest to the window of the same lady, sitting at a type writer. In the picture she looks happy and fulfilled, and the company of a typewriter made her look powerful. Sunlight reflected off the clean glass frame, adding a sparkle to the woman’s eyes.

Right below the windows stood a wheelchair and a special bed for a person with limited mobility and physical strength. They belong to Julia, the pretty blonde in all the pictures, Anna and Evgeni’s daughter.

Julia grew up with her family in Moscow, and due to having Jewish heritage she was a testimony to what it means to succeed in life despite great obstacles – in her case, anti-Semitism. After completing her education at the nation’s best schools, she started working as a journalist for one of the most prominent newspapers in the capital of Russia. As a correspondent assigned to the parliament, she was not afraid to report on difficult topics and the world was at her feet. That is, until a certain day which her parents still speak of with tears in their eyes.

Anna and Evgeni share their daughter’s story with heartache, yet speak of her with pride. Both computer engineers, they sing praises of their daughter’s many talents. But all of their lives were dramatically changed in 1994, when Julia had her first epileptic attack at the age of 30.

Unsure of what caused it, Julia entrusted her life in the hands of the doctors, who made the rapid decision to operate on her brain. From that moment on, everything started happening very fast and very little of it made any sense to Anna and Evgeni. Her condition was getting worse and after four more years, which also included three operations in the United States, Julia made the decision to come to Israel.

In 1998, she made aliyah and sought help from Israeli medical experts. The first diagnosis she received was inaccurate and everything spiralled down from there. Now she was struggling to stay alive. After another operation, in which Israeli doctors tried to reverse the damage done to her brain back in Russia, Julia did not wake up from her anaesthesia for about a month. Few believed she would make it.

At that point, God arranged a divine appointment for this distraught family. As the parents were coming to the hospital every single day to care for their frail daughter, it just so happened that Corrie van Maanen of ICEJ Homecare was at the same hospital that day. Corrie and Anna met in the corridor. Something prompted Anna to ask Corrie, “Will you be able to help us?”

Not having much time to think, Corrie responded instinctively, “ken!” (“yes” in Hebrew).

Although the moment occurred almost ten years ago, both ladies remember clearly Corrie’s one-word response.

When Julia came home after a long period of being hospitalised, the ICEJ Homecare team began to help with her needs. She was now completely dependent on others, which was often a frustration to her and many times overwhelming to Anna and Evgeni. Corrie and others started coming regularly to help Julia shower and retrain her mobility.

Due to the generous and faithful giving of the Finnish branch of ICEJ, Julia was able to get a special chair and a customised bed for her needs. This equipment is a good example of how the Christian Embassy has brought comfort to her and the entire family.

The physical and medical care is not all we do. Many pray for them and Corrie organises special surprises, like a recent concert for the holiday of Rosh HaShana, the Jewish New Year. Corrie’s flute teacher, Esther, and her friend Julia, who is a professional cellist, asked Corrie if they could bless this family with their music.

Thanks to ICEJ Homecare, the two ladies performed a special holiday concert at the family’s home, just for Anna, Evgeni and Julia. The pair of gifted musicians put their hearts into the performance, and revived the family’s love for art, longing for beauty, and most of all their sense of self-worth and deserving of someone’s time and talent.

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