Thanks to WOW (Women on WRITING) blog tours, I’m pleased to welcome author Dorit Sasson on her tour and to help promote her new memoir, “ACCIDENTAL SOLDIER: A Memoir of Service and Sacrifice in the Israel Defense Forces.” Published 2016, printed in the U.S.A., ISBN:978-1-63152-035-8
As described on the back cover of her newly released book: “When nineteen-year-old Dorit Sasson realized that if she didn’t want to become just like her fearful mother, she had no choice but to distance herself from her, she volunteered for the Israel Defense Forces–and found her path to freedom.” This memoir is the first to share a female immigrant’s experience with serving in the IDF and is one woman’s account of her journey to become her own person.
While there are many ways that young people find to individuate and to move beyond various traumas they may have experienced, Dorit’s choice to distance herself geographically and to leave behind a war with her mother for a role in a real war in Israel, is both fascinating and enlightening.
Please join Dorit as she speaks with me about her understanding of “The Trauma of Leaving My Mother to Serve in the Israel Defense Forces.”
There’s one scene from my memoir ACCIDENTAL SOLDIER: A Memoir of Service and Sacrifice in the Israel Defense Forces that still gives me the chills every time I connect to that part of my story. It’s a critical and early part of the book that affects the rest of the plot. Without it, the memoir’s structure and story line would fall flat.
My father says that well-known line: “Dorit, if you stay in New York City, you’ll turn out to be exactly like your mother.”
Forty-five year old me knows that I had to leave my mother to become my own person despite the fact she and I had a very dysfunctional relationship.
Eighteen year old me is determined not to become like my mother.
I imagine what it must FEEL like to walk the streets of New York City feeling scared, paranoid just like Mom, who sends me newspaper clippings after anther detailing lung cancer, asbestos, and all kinds of cancers. But I’m only thirteen years old. But that doesn’t mean anything to my panic stricken mom. She still fires off article after article. Forty-five year old me knows that being the daughter of a Holocaust surviver, means she is frightened for things she cannot control even if she is a child prodigy and has played piano alongside the great Leonard Bernstein.
Yet no matter how I see the decision, the pressure to leave Mom and New York City against all odds, was traumatic. And leaving her filled me with guilt.
For most of my youth she has managed to control my thoughts and emotions. I tell family members and friends that if I get too close to the subway curb, someone might push me. Or I cannot eat such and such food because I might get cancer.
As part of my emotional efforts for this memoir, I constantly have to reconnect to the energies and emotions of this scene and what comes up for me as an adult is a great deal of compassion and concern for the eighteen year old who was put under so much pressure and duress to make a life changing decision.
This in itself can be traumatic.
I could have buckled from the emotions and pressure and just chose to stay put in New York City and deal with the consequences of becoming like my mother. But when I connect to that eighteen year old in Dad’s office, the voice in me said, “don’t be like your mother. You cannot afford to be like your mother. Do you want to walk around with a bunch of phobias, fears and insecurities that will linger with you for your entire life?”
Having my mother mirror to me her own fears made the decision easy. As Dad and I discussed the possibilities of joining the Israel Defense Forces, I saw a different future that included possibility and promise for an eighteen year old that I could become my own person. Mind you, Mom hated Israel, the Israel Defense Fores and wanted me to stay clear of serving in the IDF.
And while moving to Israel did, in fact, give me the opportunity to become my best person and thus allow my son and daughter to become independent people, I will always see that moment in Dad’s office as a game changer. Thankfully, I was level-headed enough not to get side-tracked by the trauma, but I would feel pangs of guilt for leaving her. All those years in Israel, I would soon learn that depression would catch up with her. She’d suffered from depression that led to a diagnosis of dementia. Eventually she died from complications of Alzheimer’s in 2013.
Till this day, I feel guilty that she was alone in that New York City loft apartment far away from her two children.
So you see, that decision of leaving my Mom gave me the opportunity to claim my own life but, unfortunately, it also left her alone, without her children.
About the Author:
Dorit Sasson writes for a wide range of print and on-line publications, including The Huffington Post, and The Writer, and speaks at conferences, libraries, and community centers. She is the author of a featured chapter in Pebbles in the Pond:Transforming the World One Person at a Time, the latest installment of that best-selling series, and the host of he global radio show Giving Voice to Your Story. She lives in Pittsburgh, PA with her husband and two children.
ACCIDENTAL SOLDIER: A Memoir of Service and Sacrifice in the Israel Defense Forces
Published 2016, printed in the U.S.A., ISBN:978-1-63152-035-8
Find Dorit Sasson Online:
Websites: www.DoritSasson.com, www.GivingaVoicetotheVoicelessbook.com