By D. Bender
Edna Seroussi, 24, who was set to marry IDF 2LT. Hadar Goldin, 23, opened her heart in an intimate interview, after his abduction and death at the hands of Hamas terrorists on Friday, and interment of his remains on Sunday.
“I’m a widow without ever getting married,” she told the Makor Rishon newspaper after the funeral in Kfar Saba in central Israel.
Goldin, a Givati Brigade recon officer, Maj. Benaya Sarel, 26, from Kiryat Arba and St.-Sgt. Liel Gidoni, 20, from Jerusalem were killed when a Hamas suicide bomber emerged from a tunnel near Rafah, ran towards the squad of troops, and blew himself up.
Another officer in the group ran into the tunnel after other terrorists who had dragged Goldin’s body along with them, to use as a bargaining chip.
He succeeded in returning with bloodied scraps, which enabled forensic experts to later declare Goldin Killed in Action, robbing Hamas of the goal of the abduction.
But, until the IDF’s conclusive decision on Goldin’s death, while the event was still developing Friday morning, all Edna could do was pray, “Please, let him be alive.”
“When Hadar was killed, so many things went through my mind,” she said. “I didn’t sleep at all that night and everything was so confusing.
“When I awoke, I had to gather myself and make sense of it all. Everything I wanted to tell him,” she said.
Somewhere on a seamstress’s work table lies a wedding gown that, in mid-stitch, became a ritually-torn mourning garment.
“I went to have the gown made with my mother,” she said. “It’s in a simple straight style, with chiffon sleeves, and a bit of lace. Sort of a ‘vintage’ look. I told Hadar that I wanted a white dress, and didn’t want to get all gussied up.”
After being informed of Hadar’s death, Edna’s mom called the seamstress, “who sent a condolence note, and canceled the check.”
Edna said she still “has this feeling, like maybe he’s not really dead,” she admits. “A feeling that, one day, all this will end differently, and that we’ll understand why we’re sitting shiva (the Jewish week-long mourning period). If only it were so.
“I hang on to a hope that, if they really abducted (Hadar), maybe there was a mistake in the DNA test, and that he’s hiding out somewhere (in Gaza) and will return one day.”
Their last call, on Tuesday evening “was pretty much a downer as a last call, because at some stage they have to collect all of the fighter’s cellphones” before going into battle.
“It looks like we’re done talking,” Hadar told Edna, but added, hopefully, “We’ll be back soon.”
Despite both feeling optimistic about the expected brief foray, on Friday morning, when Edna heard that the cease-fire had been broken, “I felt this crazy mood swing and had a really bad feeling.
“I went into the bedroom and laid down,” she said. She then arose to busy herself with school paperwork, and made a sandwich, telling herself all the while, “I’m doing this for Hadar.”
Her mother then entered the room, “and I saw that she was very upset.”
“‘Hadar was abducted,’ she told me.” Leah, Hadar’s mother, then called, “and I couldn’t believe it.”
Edna then began to cry, but told herself over and over, “It can’t be – he’s not one of those who would be kidnapped – he’s a fighter ’till the end,” she said.
“On the way back from Hadar’s family in Ganei-Tal, I couldn’t breathe,” she said.
“I just prayed, ‘please, let him be alive. Please, let him be alive. Please, let him be alive.'”