I wrote this after interviewing Iris Irit Yaar Edelbaum, when I was asked to do a magazine article on single parents. I got a message on Facebook that Iris died of a heart attack on 13th July 2013, in Pokhara, Nepal, where she was living since late last year along with her 13-year-old son, Asa Krishna Edelbaum. She was a brave soul who was singly parenting her son, since he was just a baby. The magazine turned down my article..saying, “this cannot fit their readership.” I am happy they did as today I can use this as an obituary of Iris, my beautiful friend. Rest in peace dear one…I hope Asa is brave now to find his way around without you by his side. Please read below what would have appeared as her story in the magazine that never published it.
Iris from Israel, currently lives in Nepal.
Iris met her son’s biological father soon after her divorce with her first husband. They tried to live together for a while. But the relationship didn’t work. She left her homeland, Israel, with her six- month-old son for the USA. Her original family was not supportive and neither was Israel as a country for single parent, economically and legally. Iris has been a single mum since then. Her son is now 12 years old.
“Raising a child is a difficult task, more so on your own. However every challenge also bears special opportunities and potentials. I think my relationship with my son is radically different than what I have seen around where the child is raised by two parents,” says Iris.
Iris also decided to homeschool her son so that they could freely travel and made some serious changes in her life. “Before he was born I was a career person, a professional, with a budding academic career and numerous engagements. I was doing three jobs simultaneously. I had many speaking engagements, I had a regular column in a news-paper and had many goals and ambitions in that direction. But then I realized that if I continued my career I will hardly see my son, and so I stopped struggling and focused on home life. My son never went to school, except for one year when he was nine years old, where he caught up with basic reading and writing,” says Iris explaining the changes she made to become a full-time single parent to her son. Iris decided to surrender to the new situation totally and changed her life and her priorities.
Around the age of seven when her son asked her about his father, Iris told him the truth and slowly he saw more freedom in the way they were living despite the challenges. Iris did provide contact with other male role models in the form of mentors and teachers at various homeschooling centers that they were associated with, especially during pre-puberty period to get him to see the ways of men and also to help him differentiate his mother as a different gender!
Iris has felt it hard to deal with single parenthood especially in the financial sphere as there is not much support for single mums in that realm. Also during medical emergency she has often felt the need for some male support. “If there are grandparents and other supportive family members then it could be a little easier during such times, but I did not have that kind of support, and life does seem happier with a meaningful mate,” says Iris.
Iris tried to conjure up a ‘male view’ within herself when she had to make vital choices. She feels as the child grows older, there is less physical strain but then needs change as the child also grows older and sometimes that gets harder.