A year without Nili
November 5th 2005 marks a year since the tragic car accident that took Nili Natho’s life.
Inside the article – Shira Haelyon, Amber Hall, Ramla’s fans and Tal Natan write about the past year.
Remembering Nili page
We’ll always remember you.
Rest In Peace
Raanana remembers Nili
Translated to English by ‘Safsal’
I got the news during a routine Friday dinner. It was the phone call that changed my life forever! “Shira, it’s Sharon.. I have bad news”. Silence.
“There was an accident!” Silence again.
“It’s Nili! Nili died in a car accident”.
Suffocated by tears, I felt the ground dropping from under my feet. Refusing to believe, refusing to accept. Broken and devastated I arrived at the hospital up north. Completely drained, in a car ride that lasted an eternity.
I tried to find comfort, I believed deep inside that maybe it’s a mistake, maybe it’s a bad dream. A spark of hope rose inside me, but those cries – “she’s gone, she’s gone” – ended the illusion and brought me immediately back to reality.
Saying goodbye to you was the hardest part. You laid lifeless inside a coffin, with your face exposed. I couldn’t leave you. I waited for a movement from you, a breath, that perfect smile, your warm hug…
Your sudden death is a tragic disaster for all of us. The basketball world which lost a huge talent, your friends, your family and especially for me!
Nili, you, who were an inseparable part of me
You’re my sister
You’re my friend
You’re my soul mate
You knew me like nobody else did. You handled the mood swings, you listened, always supportive and mainly understanding. We knew moments of happiness and joy, we shared experiences and amazing moments that are just for the two of us. You were there for me in any way possible. You loved and were someone I could lean on during the tough times.
For that and much more, I thank you. I’m thankful I had the pleasure of knowing you, being so close to you and being a significant part of your life.
I cry at the world with my strong love, and I wrap you in a never-ending hug, my dear.
This last year taught me an important lesson in life. Our time is short, we don’t control our faith and in one split of a second everything can change. We’ll all experience, sooner or later, difficult situations like deaths, diseases and tragedy. In these times we go through the whole range of human emotions. The easy way in these situations is to sink into desperation and wallow in sorrow and grief. But the only way to overcome and survive is to be mentally tough. Tragedies in life can either paralyze us and our dreams, or make us understand how precious life is and why we must make the most out of every moment, live for today, and most importantly cherish and love those closest to us.
So, I’d like to take this opportunity to thank my family and my amazing friends who supported me and were there for me in the hardest year of my life.
And to you, the amazing Natho family who lost two daughters at the same time, who even in death were inseparable… we can only hope for a better future and take comfort in knowing they’re together now, watching over each other. I support you with all my heart and love. I wish you to find the happiness and peace you deserve.
And to you, Nili, rest in peace in heaven.
Please watch over me, your family, and those who love you from up there in the sky.
And I miss you from the bottom of my soul
I didn’t have the words before. I couldn’t speak about my sister now gone. GONE? The thought didn’t sit well with me. So I said nothing. Sitting by myself I would think of her, talk to her. “Remember when we... Girl you would love this new...” Then as if she was right there I asked, “What happened Nili? Why did you leave? God said come home and you had to listen.” I feel her with me all the time. Sometimes I swear she is right with me, laughing with me or at me and I know she hears me when I talk to her and smiles when I think of her. I guess that’s why I couldn’t say anything before about her being gone, because she truly lives on in my heart. We just can’t see her in the flesh. But she is still right here with me, with us. Her pretty face. That BIG CHEESY SMILE that she always flashed when she shot the ball in my face and I couldn’t block it. You were right girl, I will never block you.
Not many people really knew what went on in her head, her hopes and dreams, her doubts and fears. her huge, huge heart. It was the Natho family who invited me for my first dinner in Israel.
I still have that tape we made at your place my first year Nili. When I heard the news I put it on and danced, and I DANCED girl. I danced for the both of us. I danced like we used to dance with ima and abba at your place. I danced for Diana who always wanted to teach me salsa moves. And for little Ann who talked to me like I could fully understand hebrew. My sister told me what you said to her about me when she came to visit Israel and you took her out. You’re right, I am your big sister and I always will be. We will never forget you therefore you are never gone. Always visit us, in our dreams or thoughts, whatever way you can, stay with us. I love you more than you ever knew sis.
And just for old times “PARRAMI??” those who know will laugh... one love
Translated to English by ‘Safsal’
Nili, off the bench you were our sixth man
But now we miss you as a starter
You brought love into every game, which was your best quality
Your magical smile will not be forgotten
The sand watch of your life is cruel
After a practice where you were so full of energy
When you showed fantastic shooting ability
That was when your life were cut short
Anyone who knew you said you were destined to be a great player
Nili, the heart refuses to believe
Why didn’t God send an angel to keep you here with us?
Vibrant, happy, a shinning light
Nili, our heart is broken!
But our heart thanks you for being so special
So loved by the fans and everyone around you
We down here still can’t accept losing you
Can’t accept what happened to your family
We remember you as a Champion!!!
But today you look down on us from above
In death you wore a shirt with magical words on it
Words that symbolize your character
“I’m A Champion” you wrote on your t-shirt
A Champion you were and a Champion you will remain in our memory forever.
Your picture in our arena will hang forever.
The heart is torn by sorrow and pain
The wound remains open, and it stings
The smile and memories will last
We won’t stop crying over you
Deep in the hearts of everyone you will stay
Forever and ever.
Nili we loved you, such a special soul
Forever you will remain in our hearts, like you never stopped smiling
May love wrap your soul forever
Translated to English by ‘Safsal’
I finished Friday’s practice just 10 minutes ago, November 4th 2005. Just like a year ago, only then the practice was in Ramla and Nili was on the court. I wish you knew how much we really loved you, and when I say we I mean the entire basketball community.
Exactly one year passed, and the heart still trembles. I feel like someone’s playing me, and maybe you’re a foreigner abroad, and soon your plane will land and you’ll come back to us.
Personally I don’t realize it, and I don’t think I want to. You were there for all the big moments.
I wish we’d learn that we could lose everything in a moment, and I call out to anyone reading these lines – take care of yourselves, be more patient and pleasant, take things in proportions because there are things much more important than basketball.
We promise to remember you, you’re a part of us and that’ll never change. All I have left is to raise more players, but nobody will ever have a smile like yours, ability like yours or a wink like the one you used to wink at me.
You left us a lot of food for thought, we try to better ourselves and become better people. We try to make the game of basketball that you loved so much attractive and fun. I, like I promised your parents, will do everything to make that happen.
I miss you, I wish I could see you, I wish I could yell at you for not going back on defense or making a bad pass, but I know that won’t happen. The memories will remain, from Austrovski High School, Maccabi Raanana, Elizur Ramla and the various National Teams. Those magical moments, moments of Championship, are precious souvenirs you left me and others.
Watch over yourself and we’ll watch over you,
With great love,