Israel StoryIn partnership with The Times of Israel

A Life After Death – Part II

11-month-old Noah Zaychner fell asleep during naptime at daycare and never woke up. His mother, Gal, goes back to the darkest moments of her life.

A Life After Death - Part II (Israel Story)
A Life After Death - Part II (Israel Story)

** This is part two of A Life After Death. If you haven’t heard part one, we recommend that you listen to it first, and only then return to this episode.

A Life After Death tells the tragic story of a victim of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). Please take that into account when deciding whether to continue listening.

In part two of “A Life After Death,” Gal Zaychner describes the days and months following Noah’s death – the funeral, the grief and the hope of creating a new life.

“When someone dies,” she writes, “there are all kinds of things you have to take care of: You have to organize a funeral, and the burial, and then orchestrate a whole shiva [seven-day mourning period]. You have to notify everyone, and cancel all your meetings and appointments. Basically, you have to stop short while the whole world keeps on going.” This – of course – is true of any death. But when an infant dies, the entire ordeal becomes all the more complicated.

Two days after he died, Noah’s body was released from the morgue. The coroner’s report was brief – it simply stated that the child had been “cared-for and well-kempt.” Then came the question of what to do with the corpse. And for Gal and Michael, the answer was far from simple or straightforward.

Almost immediately after Noah’s death, Gal and Michael began thinking of getting pregnant again. After all, everyone around them seemed to be insisting that they have another kid. But deep down Gal knew that no matter how many other children she might have, nothing would ever fill the gaping hole in her heart.

Nicole Raviv reads Gal Zaychner’s essays, which were published in Haaretz and then translated by Mitch Ginsburg. The episode was recorded at Nomi Studios, and was mixed by Sela Waisblum. Zev Levi scored and sound-designed it with music from Blue Dot Sessions. Thanks to Alma Elliott Hoffman, Ross Bordow and Gideon Bialkin.

The end song is “Yeladim Shel Ha’Chaim” (“Children of Life”), which was written, arranged and performed by Shalom Hanoch (licensed by Israel Story through Acum).

About Israel Story: Israel Story is the award-winning podcast that tells extraordinary tales about ordinary Israelis. Often called “the Israeli ‘This American Life,’” we bring you quirky, unpredictable, interesting and moving stories about a place we all think we know a lot about, but really don’t. Produced in partnership with The Times of Israel.

Subscribe to Israel Story on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts.

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