Tuesday, October 2, 2012

The Missed Opportunity

    The incident I am about to relate occurred about a month ago, say about a week or a week and a half after finishing the "mourning week" for Ricki. One morning I left the house for my daily aerobic walk, a bit before 8AM. On the way I passed scores of children and teens on their way to school. Suddenly I saw "C", a girl from Rickie's class, who lives not too far from us. I smiled at her, and she stopped to talk.

"Hey, you're Rickie's mom, aren't you?!?
"Yes, I am…"
"Rickie died, right?"
"Yes, she did."
"Because she was ill, right?"
"Yes, because she was ill. But not everyone who is ill dies. Ricki was VERY ill."
"I remember that. She even came to school with oxygen. And she was ill because of her overweight, right.?"
"Yes, her weight caused her illness."
"Well, I hope she has a 'refuah shleima'!" (a complete recovery)

   So I smiled to myself, and wished her a good day. Within moments I was kicking myself for the lost opportunity. "C" had learned the phrase, the "script" of "refuah shleimah", but in this case she used it inappropriately. I could have gently explained to "C" that Rina will NOT have a "refuah shleimah", and that she should instead say "I miss her", "You have my condolences" or the like. But I missed the opportunity. [But I DID (at least) tell a teacher from the school who I bumped into a week later…..]


Batya said...

A neighbor of mine, also a bereaved parent, would probably say that the child was right. When the Moshiach comes and there's T'chiat HaMetim, it would be a "refuah shleimah."
Find comfort, G-d willing, in that.

TUC said...

I was also thinking that... she was right in a way. However, as always I am impressed that you catch these moments and then act on them, even if it was after the fact.