We all come to this world for a certain amount of time. It’s written in the Torah that we are born against our will and we are taken from this world against our will. We don’t choose into which bodies to be born and into which circumstances we wish to be born. We trust that the Master of the world knows what’s best for each and every one of us and we simply trust Hashem that whatever comes our way is for our best.
I have a handicapped son that I care for daily. My son is in a home most of the week and on weekends he is at home with me. I care for him regularly. Each and every morning I’m at the home to shower and bath him and make sure he is being taken care of in the best way possible. Like myself, there are many parents who visit their children. Some visit daily, some weekly, and others whenever they get a chance.
This past week, two children at the home passed away. One a girl who was 28 and had been at the home since the age of 6, and the other a small boy age 8 who was there since he was a year old. In their memories I would like to write about sensitivity and emotional awareness. All of these children, including my son, take an enormous amount of physical care. It is not a simple matter. And yet, taking care of such special children is an honor. To an outsider it might seem like a great burden. After all, there is round-the-clock care in the home where all the physical needs of the children are taken care of. And still it’s a world of difference when the parent comes in and takes care of his or her very own. Although the children in this home don’t talk, don’t walk, and can barely communicate in a way which healthy people do, they have a world of their own in so many different ways. It is true that to take care of these children takes a major amount of physical and emotional energy. But understanding them is the best part of it all. You develop a language of your own to reach them in a deeper and more spiritual realm.
Since these children are in a home and all their physical needs are being cared for, it’s hard to understand why some of the parents still choose to go regularly. A parent’s attachment to them is the same or even greater than the bond between a parent and his or her healthy children. A parent is a parent, and no matter what kind of child G-d has given you, we must realize that all humans were created in the image of Hashem. Each child is a gift from above. Sometimes this special gift is sent in a special packaging with special instructions. Not every parent has the special ability to care for such a gift. However, the special parents who do embrace this challenge are very special and sensitive individuals.
There are many languages in the world that one can learn in school or in a particular country. But the language that these non-speaking children speak can only be learned from them. It’s the language of love; the language of patience and understanding. It’s the language of faith and hope. It’s the language of happiness and contentment. This language doesn’t need any sound, fancy words or special accent. All that this language needs is a listening heart and an open mind. These children make us better people. They make us more sensitive and aware of the small things around us that we usually tend to miss in our busy lives.
When one of these wonderful and special children passes from this world, it’s a major loss for both the parents and the world itself. It is comparable to a great sage and holy person passing from this world. In such a situation, we all mourn, since we know that with their holiness they were keeping the world from falling apart. Similarly, the holy souls of special needs children are keeping us all alive. Those who have no connection to this type of world can think for a moment that because the hard work of caring for these children is over when they pass away, life will be easier. But it’s not like that at all. When one of these children leaves us, a pure and perfect part of this imperfect world leaves us as well. They took care of us more than we took care of them. True, we might have cared for them physically, but they cared for us spiritually. These children make sure to pass on to their parents the message of going beyond what the naked eye can see. It is truly an honor to receive such a heavenly gift from the Creator Himself. The work in this world is so much harder without such a special child in our lives to help guide us to see what’s really whole and good in this very misinterpreted world.
May those two holy souls, Liron and Shalom Noach, that left this world this week look out for us in the world above and bless us to always be able to see the perfection and wholesomeness in that which looks so completely imperfect. May their souls rest in peace and may their parents have the strength to keep on going and growing despite their great loss.