It is very unlike me to sit down and write something like this, and yet, I feel that I have an obligation to do so. I am a quiet person, who lives a quiet life, and there was nothing so newsworthy or interesting about myself or my family, until unfortunately tragedy struck and turned the ordinary into the extraordinary.

On August 19, 2003, my husband and I were celebrating our 9-year anniversary. With five small children, our youngest at that time just one month old, we did not get out of the house very often. The school year was about to begin the following week, and so we decided to do something special with the children. They very much wanted to go to the Kotel (Western Wall), and we, too, felt it was the best place we could be on our anniversary.

Once there, my kids ran around having the time of their lives. They each had a chance to daven by the wall and say some tehillim (psalms), and yet, they managed to make a playground out of the plaza, as they and other kids their age laughingly chased one another. We took beautiful pictures of our children that night with a brand new camera that we finally splurged to buy. And for my baby, Elchanan, who had been born just a few weeks prior, touching his small hands and body to the stones of the Kotel was a very special experience.

Minutes before we were about to leave we bumped into friends that we hadn't seen in a while. They were a large family but came only with their younger children. We sat and spoke, enjoying our time together, yet when I realized that it was way past bedtime, we decided to wait for the bus.

It was around 9:00 pm as the bus arrived and a huge crowd tried to push their way on. Since the driver had opened both doors, we entered through the middle of the bus, my husband taking my little Shira, 1 ½, with him, and I took Elchanan along with my eldest daughter Meirav, 7, and middle daughter, Orly, 4, to sit with me. Our son Daniel, 6, choose to sit alongside our friends who had boarded with us.

Elchanan was hungry, so I covered him up with a large baby blanket and began nursing. There was barely room to breathe on the bus, let alone move, and so I was not thrilled when Daniel suddenly arrived, pushing and nudging his sisters for a space to stand. He explained that a pregnant woman didn't have a seat so he gave his to her and joined us.

What happened next is simply indescribable. I actually didn't hear anything — supposedly you never do. There was just this thick silence for about half a minute while everyone's senses tried to grasp what had happened. And then the shrieking began. The metal from the bus had fallen on top of me and I couldn't hear much or see anything. But fear, panic and pain penetrated and filled the darkness of the bus skeleton in which we sat. My eardrums had been blasted and I was barely conscious. Everything from that second is a blur. I didn't know where my children were; I didn't know anything. Suddenly I felt like I was being lifted as rescue workers tried to carry me from the wreckage. I felt something fall from my lap and knew it was my baby, yet I didn't hear him cry and feared that he had been killed. I screamed to them, “My baby, my baby…” but they didn't know what I was referring to. The bus was packed with mothers and children, everyone was looking for their baby.

The next five hours was something that no person should ever have to endure. I was brought to the hospital and my physical wounds were treated, but there were too many victims and emergencies for me to receive the answers I so desperately needed — where was my husband, where were my children?

I was all alone. No one knew we had been at the Kotel that night. I had no one to turn to. I came to Israel from Iran and my family is all in the States. I couldn't tell my mother since her health is not well and I didn't think she could handle the news.

So I sat for hours praying for the best and trying to prepare for the worst. Finally I found out that my husband was in the same hospital with me. He had been facing the bomber and was hit with metal, nails and glass in the face and eye. Shira had been on his lap but he didn't know what had happened to her. He did, however, remember hearing her scream. For me that was wonderful news for if she was screaming, she was alive.

Next we found out that our older children, Meirav, Daniel and Orly were also in the same hospital. They had severe damage to their ears, but miraculously escaped major injury. Orly was still unconscious, but that may have been a blessing, since from the moment she awoke she wouldn't stop shrieking.

Yet my newborn and my Shira were missing. Unbeknownst to us, the news stations were asking for any information about the parents of two children who had arrived at a hospital and were unaccounted for. One was a newborn, and the other a little girl. No one knew they were related. No one knew they were my children. Finally, hours later, a woman brought me tiny little shoes by which I was able to identify Shira, and an x-ray indicated that the baby had only one kidney, and sure enough, Elchanan had only been born with one.

Miraculously, my family had survived. It was still another day until we heard about those who were not so fortunate. Included in that group were our dear friends that we met up with that night. Their 11-month-old son, Shmuel, had been murdered. Alongside him, in the very seat that Daniel had been sitting, the pregnant woman, a mother of a 1-year-old and in her 9th month, had also been brutally killed.

The next day my children were moved into the same room with me, with my husband one floor above. Shira and Elchanan remained at the other hospital and it would be a week until I could even see them. We discovered that Shira had been the most severely injured and doctors feared that she had totally lost vision to one of her eyes. She immediately underwent surgery and when she was brought to me, her beautiful little face and head were bandaged, hiding the horrific marks where glass and shrapnel lay embedded in her cheeks. Elchanan, we were told, was not found until at least an hour after the blast. When they began removing the dead, they suddenly heard the cries of an infant. He was lying beneath three bodies.

The story I just told you, you may have already heard. Most people have. We were the very type of story the media tends to focus on. In the immediate aftermath of the bombing, we were quite popular. Our room was filled with visitors and flowers and balloons. People offered help and support and the kindness was overwhelming and unbelievable. But like with most things, when the hype calmed down, so did the response and interest.

And that is why I am writing this story. It is not to tell you what you may have heard, but to reveal to you something that you definitely do not know about. I know that Jay Litvin, of blessed memory, was a primary writer for this site. Many of you have read his moving words and were connected to him in various ways. For me, Jay was an angel.

In addition to everything else that he did in his role as husband, father of seven, writer, and medical liaison for Children of Chernobyl, Jay was also one of the directors of Chabad's Terror Victim Project. From the moment that Chabad heard of our plight, they did not leave our side. But Jay did more than just his job; he took it upon himself to worry, care and call, always checking if there was anything else that we needed.

Jay not only provided us with what we lacked, but also with what we wanted, the things that would make life in such hard times that much easier. He made sure the kids received the right kinds of toys and that we were getting babysitting and other childcare help.

When he heard of the situation with Shira, Jay went on a mission to find the best doctors in the country to treat her. Furthermore, he spent hours contacting his connections in the US, seeing if one of the doctors he knew would donate the services for the plastic surgery that Shira will be needing. He called constantly to ask about her care and her progress.

Just a few months ago, Jay spoke about the Chabad's Terror Victim Project at a Chabad seminary in Jerusalem. The girls were so moved that they all wanted to volunteer. To this day, once a week two wonderful girls travel to our home, playing with the younger children so that I can help the older ones with their homework.

I began to wonder around Purim time why I was having a hard time reaching Jay. Little did I know that some of the times he called me he was lying in a hospital bed, fighting for his own life. He never spoke of himself or his pain or what he was going through. He simply stayed focused on helping others and doing whatever he could to make our lives less painful.

When I heard the terrible news of his untimely passing, I was absolutely crushed. I felt so alone, so abandoned. I knew that there were others who would help and who would care, but that no one could replace the love that Jay had given us. I traveled one night to his family's home for the shivah and met his wonderful wife. With tears in her eyes she spoke of how hard it was for him to be in the hospital at the end. Not because of the horrible pain that he had to endure, but because he was unable to answer his email and phone calls and be there for all of us whom he helped so greatly.

I never even knew Jay was a writer, though I have now discovered that his words have touched the hearts and souls of hundreds if not thousands throughout the world. But no matter how powerful his words, they could not compare to his actions. I just feel so blessed to have known him and to have had him as a part of our lives. We are still struggling, and it will be a long road to recovery, but Jay did everything in his power to ease our journey. And when I think of him and of our last conversation, I can still hear the joy in his voice as I told him that Shira's last surgery was a great success. I can hear his "Thank G‑d!" as I explained that we just took off the bandage, and the doctors are now hopeful that Shira's vision will be restored.

This is the Jay Litvin that I knew and that I wanted to share with you. His loss is not just a private loss, but a loss for all of the Jewish people. And in the merit of all that Jay did for everyone around him, I pray that we be blessed to have him with us once again, and to have no more pain and no more suffering, through the revelation of Moshiach, immediately.