From early on in life we are told to “be strong”, over and over. Is strength physical? Or is it mental, or emotional?
Obviously strength comes in many forms, just as beauty, success, or any other matter which can be interpreted in the physical sense of the word and in the emotional or spiritual word as well.
During the past few months the institution that my special needs child lives in, has been closed off to the public. Families who have children at the home cannot come in to visit, nor can the children that live at the home leave the premises. This is, of course, due to the coronavirus, in order that these special children be safe and secure.
However, what the brain might understand and know, is an entirely different matter than what the heart feels and understands. The two indeed don’t share the same feelings.
The time and distance in between have been so difficult. The short phone calls that I’m able to make once a day definitely don’t fill the gap and the void felt by me and my special son Eliyahu.
I try to be strong while speaking to him and yet I feel from day to day that the experience just keeps getting harder and harder. My son doesn’t speak the language which we all might understand that has words that anyone can hear with their physical ears. But my son speaks a language that one must listen to, very closely with their hearts, in order to hear what he is saying.
Some days I hear him telling me to be strong and I hear all the great words of encouragement coming from his heart telling me not to be so sad or mad that the institution isn’t letting anyone in. I hear him explain how it’s for the best since this way he will be safe and healthy. And other times, which seem to be greater than the first, we cry together, we tell each other how much we miss one another.
I’ve mentioned in the past what great physical energy one needs in addition to the emotional energy one needs, to take care of special children. This “break” so to speak in the caretaking of my child has been more difficult that any physical care I can imagine. My son is quite heavy and doesn’t move any of his limbs on his own. Caring for him daily was indeed a task that took a great amount of time and effort. During these past months I feel the absence so much.
One can think that this is a time-out break, and I can relax. But this isn’t the case at all. Caring for others especially those who can’t help themselves, is such a great merit and gift from Hashem. Caring for my child in his current condition, is one of the greatest joys of my day. I count the days till I can resume caring for my son once again, however, with no date in sight the wait seems endless and painful. In taking care of my son I need great physical strength, but waiting to go back, and care for him once more, takes even greater strength than before.
As in all the trials that Hashem sends our way, nothing is by chance. Sometimes G-d wants us to appreciate a certain matter, or see things in a different light. Sometimes Hashem wants us to grow and use more of our ability to change and see how we can be better people and how we can serve our creator in a better way. Habit, or things we do by rote, as great as they might be, at times can lose some of their special effect or even get worn out.
I never felt worn out, nor was I looking for a break from taking care of my wonderful child. However, Hashem is the one who is keeping me from entering the home, and not the administration. Therefore, there must be a reason and a purpose behind each and every action that comes from above. I haven’t fully understood the reason my son and I are physically so far apart, and the pain is felt every day that goes by. I try to be strong for both of us and yet sometimes I just break down and cry.
G-d in heaven, thank you for keeping my son alive, thank you for the physical distance we feel at the moment, and thank you for giving us the opportunity to serve you, even when we can’t see the good in it.
I pray that, G-d willing, this period of time will pass quickly, and that we will, very soon, be reunited. And who knows, perhaps this darkness will bring a greater light and health for my special son and myself.