“Mommy, when will I die?”

Yesterday I was sitting next to ds5 on the bus on our way home from our shopping trip, when he suddenly asked me: “Mommy, when will I die?”

I looked at him and said, “When you were born, Hashem (God) gave you a neshama (soul) that has a special job.  You’re going to be alive as long as your neshama has a job to do, and hopefully that will be for a very long time.”

He was satisfied with that answer and didn’t ask anything else.  But that jolted my thoughts.

When Yirmiyahu was taken to the hospital and even more when I was told how he nearly didn’t make it, I was wracked with guilt.  I kept thinking over and over, ‘Just a few more hours, what if we hadn’t taken him then, why didn’t I take him sooner?  Why didn’t I pay more attention to my gut feeling that something was wrong?”   Over and over.  I kept thinking: ‘I have to let go of this, I did the best I could, I was far from negligent about the situation…’  But still my mind would start playing, ‘what if, what if, what if?’

Then I heard those words come out of my mouth to answer ds5 and they gave me a burst of clarity: Yirmiyahu didn’t die, not because we got him to the emergency room on time.  He made it because his soul has a purpose and he needs to be here. That means that Hashem made sure he’d get there on time.  And if it hadn’t been us taking him for medical care, He would have sent another messenger to make sure that Yirmiyahu got the medical help he needed.  Because Yirmiyahu needs to be here, not just as the light of my life, but as part of God’s plan.

I can’t tell you what a gift and relief this was, to have peace of mind and let go of this huge emotional weight on me.  I don’t know if I’ll ever  totally let go of that fear of ‘what if’ or wipe out every vestige of guilt that I didn’t do something differently.  But this reminded me that God and His plan aren’t part of the picture; they are the picture.


3 thoughts on ““Mommy, when will I die?”

  1. I’m glad you’re feeling free of that guilt. It’s the status quo of a Jewish mother but it is debilitating and nothing is more right than realizing Hashem has a master plan. I always find it freeing when I relinquish control (or my lack of it) to Him.

  2. As someone going through a different trying experience (though on a much smaller scale), I must say thank you for your words of chizuk. You said exactly what I needed to hear. May you all be blessed with briyut u’brirut always.

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