Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Paying a condolence call

I paid a shiva call this week to a family that lost their 32 year old son and brother.

He was autistic and cognitively impaired from the age of two months when, on about the same day, he was both vaccinated for hepatitis and dropped by his babysitter.  The resultant damage necessitated a shunt to drain fluid from the brain. He managed to learn to walk and speak, attending special ed schools.

At about sixteen, his parents placed him in a group home. At nineteen, he suffered "a fall" there after which his condition progressively deteriorated until his death.

His mother and her four lovely daughters welcomed me warmly, praising me for keeping my daughter at home. I reminded them that every day is a fresh endurance test and Heaven only knows how much longer I'll be able to hold out. But I felt it was very brave of  that grieving mother to say that.

Needless to say, learning directly from the mother what triggered this boy's final downhill slide ("the fall") sent shivers down my spine.

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