My husband's cousin was hit by a car in an intersection while finishing a jog a week ago. According to the laws of physics, she should not have survived. Luck was with her and she did - with a long recovery from a serious shoulder injury and fractured hip. She and her family live in Boston and she is doing rehabilitation at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital. And it so happened that my family had an afternoon in Boston before returning home and we felt we shoudl visit her - it's an important mitzvah - and the right thing to do.
We were nervous. We weren't sure if she would look battered and if her appearance would frighten our children. We didn't know if she would welcome three kids to her recovery room. And we didn't call ahead since the email instructions were that after 4pm, drop ins were welcome. As we rose in the elevator, we reminded the children of their part in visiting the sick and mentioned that Dad would enter the room first to ensure they could enter.
She rolled out into the hall as we disembarked. And our mitzvah became her gift. For the next thirty minutes, we sat outside with her listening to her talk about her good luck and her love for her family and community. She was disappointed that she couldn't take her boss, Michael Porter, to Haiti with her other boss, Paul Farmer, in September - they would delay until she could come. She spoke of her luck in being treated at Brigham-Women's Hospital. Her luck that the orthopedic surgeon on call was a shoulder specialist. She shared how good it was that her father-in-law, another physician, was there with her husband to support him in making very scary decisions on her behalf. And she marved that she kept her arm; can move her fingers and is on the road to recovery. She told us her neighborhood was protesting at that very moment to get a traffic light placed at the intersection. She was thankful and appreciative. It was amazing.
Our children spent most of the visit playing basketball while we talked with her. But they saw that something really bad can happen to a really good person and that you control how you react to bad things. My husband and I were inspired by visiting his cousin. I couldn't have created a better opportunity to show that doing the right thing - such as visiting the sick - can be inspirational and educational.