Today was final preparation day. After taking care of upcoming art projects I had several errands for the trip tomorrow.
Stopped at Wells Fargo to get the foreign money I had ordered – so pretty!
I kind of expected shekels to still be in silver coin and come in a little bag like bible stories! But of course that would be silly!
Next stop was my moms gravesite. My son Mark and I stopped to put some bling on her grave from my daughter. I wanted to tell her goodbye before we make this big trip that is actually for her.
For years she kept telling me she wished I could go to Israel. She, who never left the United States, watched televangelists religiously (pun?) and while she hated traveling herself she loved the idea of me going there. And then there was the shofar incident.
There is one ministry that offers a shofar for a big donation. For months all she talked about was wanting to donate so she could get that rams horn. I ignored all such requests from her thinking she would lose interest. It was just a phase. Why did a white Christian elderly lady want a shofar? She couldn’t explain so I continued to ignore until she finally wore me down. I made the donation ONLY after making the lady on the phone verify that a shofar was in their possession and that it was guaranteed authentic. She verified. I donated (my mom donated– I just did the transaction). I’m telling you — I know it seems crazy but at that point I figured what the heck. Give her anything she wants– she sits at home alone all day and night. She would do it for me. She is obviously touched by this item and life is short.
So we waited. And waited. And weeks went by. No shofar. I called. Shofars are in customs. Just give them time to process. We wait. She worries. I call. No shofar.
Finally I call and tell them their ministry reputation is now tainted. They lied when they said they were immediately available. I demanded they refund the shofar money and stop lying to little old ladies who had nothing better to do. And I told my mom I would just go to Israel and get her one!
That was a year ago. She called me every time there was an announcement that another tour was being planned. I checked into several ministries who do tours but they were so expensive I couldn’t do it. For months she waited for me to go but I struggled with finding a legitimate and affordable tour and I didn’t want to go alone. Usually I would want to travel alone but not for this. So I invited my niece Savannah, my moms first grandchild, to go along too.
I got the flights and found America Israel Tours out of California it has good reviews so I emailed and got a response from a lady named Pauline Pancake. Seriously. Well that sounded legit, right?? So I read more reviews and talked to someone other than Ms. Pancake- I would seriously change my name!
My mom was ecstatic. Multiple times she made me promise to get a shofar. I promised. But then she said she wanted a big one! Like how big? BIG! She said. Like four feet long! I told her that won’t fit in my suitcase. She didn’t care about the trivia if that. A big one. I told her one foot. She said big. I didn’t answer.
I gave her the itinerary two weeks ago so she could follow along and know which sites we would visit each day. She was really interested in us going to swim in the Dead Sea and going to the spa.
When she suddenly had a heart attack October 13 people asked if I was going to cancel. I said heck no – the woman wants her shofar and I’m going for her so no cancelling. I sat next to her bed and held her hand on October 15. I told her I wasn’t cancelling. Well for one thing I had flight insurance but had skipped the trip insurance. She didn’t really say much.
The next day I brought her home from the hospital. And she died. And now I have a journey to take and I imagine her with Jesus, the ultimate Israel tour guide, following our journey.
And her shofar will be integrated into her headstone when we return. It won’t be four feet long but it will be beautiful. And she will be glad.
Follow us as we travel 💕