Maor Cohen is a highly sensitive man who is known at Ezer Mizion as Mr. Lego. He raises the spirits of both children and adults battling life-threatening diseases with his Lego Workshop in addition to his hospital visits to those who cannot attend the workshop. Many have asked how he manages to create deep relationships that are too often broken when his ‘lego-friends’ leaves this world. Below is his answer.
They say I have a good memory,
That I remember every single detail,
Even the ones that other people forgot.
The truth is that I don’t make an effort to remember things,
But I remember.
I’m not sure how good that really is,
Because sometimes, the best gift a person can have is forgetting,
Or at least the hope that something will be forgotten.
Like, for instance, that the bank should forget that you owe them money,
Or that your wife should forget to ask you to do something,
And so on.
What protects us more, forgetfulness or memory?
And is the tension that exists between them built-in?
There are things that we so badly want to forget that we make every effort to delete them from our memory bank.
The forgetting whose goal is to distance us from tremendous pain.
On the other hand, there are moments that we really don’t want to forget. And there are those moments that we really try to remember, but there is a powerful fear that they will be forgotten:
The soft stroke of the gentle hand of a grandmother who is no longer.
The words of a father who has passed on,
A gaze that cannot be recreated.
Sometimes, a veritable battle takes place between forgetting and remembering,
But victory lies in the special seam between them, a deep-set seam
That marks a new way of thinking.
Not long ago, my commander taught me that there are things and experiences that we have to forget, so that we will have the strength to remember them for the long-term.
This sentence resounds in my mind very strongly the last few days
This tremendous ability
To make room for forgetting, so as to empower remembering.
Last Tuesday, I made my way among the hordes of people who came to pay their last respects to an amazing girl who died in her battle against a cursed illness.
It’s hard to be at a funeral.
It’s very hard, inconceivable, to be at a child’s funeral.
I got on line to offer condolences to the parents.
At funerals, and in public, I don’t cry.
After all, I have to be a “macho man.”
But they broke my grip.
I embraced the father, consoling them without words. Words are superfluous on such occasions.
The heart, the eyes, and the shared memories speak.
I ran to my car.
On the way, I met more mothers of my friends.
I’ve adopted this habit at funerals:
When I meet mothers of children fighting cancer,
I give them Lego, so that they should come home with something optimistic.
So I gave out Lego.
“Tell me,” one mother of a child asked,
“How can you stand it?”
When I went to wash my hands,
I saw a gravestone that stood out among the others in the cemetery.
Something about its form led me to cautiously come closer.
A father and his daughter washed the tombstone.
When I came close, I didn’t have to say a word.
The father hugged me tight.
His son was my friend from Ezer Mizion’s Lego club –
A 19-year-old boy whom I was very close with, and who died three years ago.
Today, he felt like coming to wash the tombstone.
We embraced for long moments,
And in his arms, I burst into tears.
He looked at me with a father’s eyes,
Dried my tears.
We spoke about his son,
About life without him. About the cup being half full.
I thought about my commander, about the fact that there are some things that you have to forget so that you will have the strength to remember.
That’s the only way I manage to remember each child and every family.
In order to keep going, I have to remember, and also to forget.