I don’t know what to say

Posted on July 21st, 2011

I was speaking to a friend the other day and he mentioned that a number of people had not been in touch. They care very deeply about our situation, but they are afraid to approach me because “they don’t know what to say.”

I got news for you my friends.

I don’t know what to say either.

But if you are waiting to think of the magic words that are going to make me feel better, then I doubt we will ever talk. Because there are no magic words. The situation is what it is. Stella has cancer and we are doing the best we can to get through it.

So get over it and don’t be afraid to say hi or talk to me about something other than cancer. I actually have a very diverse repetoire and am interested in talking about many subjects that go beyond answers to “How’s Stella.”

Now that sounds harsh. I know you all are deeply worried about Stella. But here’s the thing. No one is more worried than me. Sometimes I am simply frozen in terror by the “what if” thoughts that I try and shut out of my brain. I become a zombie, I cry, I don’t make sense. Stella is such a part of my being, my soul, that I am scared shitless at the thoughts that I am not allowed to have.

And I know that sometimes I seem as approachable as a crocodile that’s been fasting for 3 days. I know that many people think that they are going to get their arm bitten off by trying to talk to me. But to be honest, the worst that you may get is cried on a little. I need you all to try and treat me like Yarden and not Mr. Married to Cancer sometimes so that I can stay sane.

In the last two weeks, my favorite conversations have been when I chat with the only other guy in Neve Daniel who is following the Tour de France. It gives me a small break where I can feel like myself again.

I can talk biking, I can talk Israeli politics, I can talk about the weather, and yes — I can talk about Stella and cancer and the matsav. But unlike the Yarden of old, I may not feel up to starting the conversation.

So come on, talk to me. I know it’s not always easy, but for me to give support to my wife, I need support from you. And a part of that means treating me like a normal person.

And for a quick answer to the “How’s Stella,” she is resting and fighting this thing like mad. She was just lying down with a gentle breeze blowing through the open window and listening to the dulcet tones of the Arab construction workers across the street screaming at each other at the top of their lungs.

Life in the Holy Land.

Don’t feel bad about anything I wrote. This e-mail was not directed at you.

Thank you all for your thoughts and prayers. Tomorrow morning we will daven (pray) in the ancient city of Hevron.

Yarden and Stella

P.S. But do not try and talk with me during my morning runs. You really may get your arm bitten off if you do so. On the other hand, you are always welcome to run with me (as long as you keep up 😉

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  1. rutimizrachi says:

    I have found that a little caramel ice cream works as salve on the bite marks. Unfortunately, someone let his kid take the last one. Right in front of me. No — don’t feel bad. Really. I mean it. I’ll just use a little aloe vera. (Yeah, go ahead… see if you can enjoy those milkshakes NOW. Heh-heh-heh.)

  2. Carla says:

    Love the honesty in your blogs. You really let us in to your thoughts, feelings and needs. That is the best anyone can do for their friends in any situation. And I love the comments especially the one about caramel ice cream and bites. Keep running and biking and a big hug for Stella and you from her “jersey” family.

  3. Sarah says:

    When I was in college, I injured my foot and had to use crutches. I got so tired of answering the same questions over & over that I pinned an index card to my shirt. It said:
    1. cracked bone
    2. folk dancing
    3. barefoot
    4. 3 weeks
    5. Of course I will, after the bone heals
    6. You could open the door for me
    Wish we could be there to chat about other things (& for other reasons, too – 2 kids w/spouses, plus 11 grandkids, in Beitar). What do you think about Dov Lipman running for the Knesset? Have a good Shabbos!

  4. Sue Sussman says:


    When I get to Israel during Succot, I would love to run with you. However, when we were there at Hannukah, I pulled the piriformis muscle in my butt while running with Huda, so I will not be running in Israel anymore. My spirit will be with you running and we look forward to seeing all the Frankels in October.

    Joel Sussman

  5. Ari Ferziger says:

    I don’t know if we know what to say either – but your running hevra from Bet Shemesh is certainly rooting for you and Stella. You are in our hearts and prayers – and we talk about how you are both doing (during the warm up laps, when we can still talk). We have first hand experience with the sheer grit and determination that is Yarden (e.g., leading your partners through a ravine by the light of a headlamp at 4am in the 200k relay or cheering the group up the steepest hills in the heat of a JM Marathon) – and know that if anyone is positioned to overcome the personal challenges while being as supportive as possible to their “team” – it’s you! We also talk about if there is any way to be supportive. Since we can keep up with you while running – we would love to come out to Neve Daniel to run with you some time. Please let us know if that would be welcome and what works in terms of dates. -Ari Ferziger