Monday, January 17, 2011

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The Good Deed

Poor Deeds! There are so many different things running through my head. Should I write about how sorry I am that Deeds has gotten burned? How lucky I feel that we escaped a tragedy like this (ptooie, ptooie) in our household? Or how having an autism service dog might have kept Deeds safe, either by calming him or standing between him and the pot of water? Or how this kind of tragedy will potentially have collateral damage, if the parents blame themselves, overcompensate by becoming overprotective, suffer anxiety?

Strangely, it's that last one that lingers in my mind. Deeds, thank God, seems to be safe and already on a road to recovery. And youth is on his side. Not only with regard to physical recovery, the body being much more resilient at so young an age, but also with regard to his emotional health. He won't remember the experience vividly for the rest of his life.

His parents will.

As a parent, there's probably something that makes you shudder, something you could have avoided but didn't. Hopefully, it was no more life-threatening than when I didn't pay attention to where my daughter was standing and opened the door on her toe, causing her toenail to fall off. Self-flagellation ensued, but small in the scheme of things.

Or maybe there's something you work feverishly to avoid happening. My 9 year old still can't be in a tub without making noise or else I'm calling to her for confirmation she's safe. A friend's granddaughter drowned in a tub when my daughter was an infant and that's a lesson I never forgot.

There are injuries that happen to our kids, through our fault (because nobody's perfect) or no fault of our own, through bad luck, being slower than our speed-demon kids, etc., that people forgive us for. But so often, we don't forgive ourselves.

And you know what? Much as I love being your pushy Bubbe, steering people towards one thing or another, whether they ask for my help or not, this is one of these heartbreaking experiences that I have no easy solution for. It's one where too often, the heart doesn't ever actually totally heal.

The best we can do when something like this happens to us is tell ourselves over and over the truth: "I did my best. I can't be perfect." And keep saying it until the rawness goes away.

Refuah shlema (speedy recovery) to Deeds and his family.

Be well, bubbelehs.

You can tell Deed's parents that you support them, that you know, "there but for the grace of God go I", by sending them your spare change and helping them find a better birthday present for Deed than the one he's had so far.

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