He Saved My Daughter’s Life, and Then She Saved Him by Susie T.
My family has experienced some tough challenges over the last few years, so I was happy to cut off from real life this past summer and go to visit my parents outside of London at the beginning of this past summer vacation.
That meant that when my daughter Tali was in an accident on July 1st, I didn’t even hear about it until two weeks later. My husband didn’t want to upset me when I was so far away from home.
So it was only after I returned home to Israel that Adam told me what had happened. He explained that our 9-year-old, Tali, had been leaving camp one afternoon when she saw her bus on the other side of the street, and dashed into the traffic without looking. A man driving a minivan saw Tali and b”H, swerved at the last minute and missed her, though just barely.
After the accident, this man saw that his side mirror had gotten knocked in from the impact with Tali. That was how close my Tali had been to getting run over, G-d forbid. As a result of that man’s sudden stop, the two cars behind him experienced a serious fender bender.
Eli got in touch with my husband right after the accident, so he would know what had happened. Adam was really upset, and grounded Tali for several days, telling her she needed to think very carefully about what had almost happened, and why.
Since she was in nursery school, Tali has been an impulsive girl. But her impulsivity, Adam realized, was dangerous for her. She was going to have to change.
I’m not proud of this, but I’ll tell you the truth. When Adam told me about the accident, I pretty much blocked it out of my mind. As I said, we’ve been through some challenges as a family recently. I felt like I just couldn’t handle one more issue to wake me up and worry over wide awake in my bed at 3:30 AM.
With everything we’ve been through, it’s been a daily challenge for me to continue feeling Hashem’s love. To feel that Hashem runs the world, despite the difficult things we are experiencing. To feel that everything Hashem does is truly for the best.
And I just couldn’t digest this near tragedy, yet another test to my emuna which was already limping even before Adam told me what had almost happened on the first day of summer vacation.
So for a few weeks, I just pretended the accident hadn’t happened. I didn’t mention it to my parents or any of my friends or even Tali. I just pretended it had never happened.
But this week, as we approach Rosh Hashanah, I knew that I had to deal with the accident. At the very least, I needed to find some way to express my gratitude to Eli whose careful driving and alertness had saved my daughter from serious injury, and possibly worse, G-d forbid.
So yesterday, for the first time, I spoke with Tali about the accident. I told her that I was going to bring a present to Eli, and asked her to write a thank you card for him.
And Tali told me something that blew me away. She said, “Eema, sometimes Hashem teaches us things we need to learn through difficult experiences. And I understand that.” Then she told me, “Today when I left school there was a bus pulling into the bus stop across the street. My friend started running across the middle of the street, and she yelled that I should join her. But I just told her that I didn’t care if I was going to miss the bus, I was only going to cross the street at the cross walk on the corner.”
I looked at my daughter yesterday and was surprised by what I saw. The accident, I understood, had really changed her. It had caused Tali to do some real cheshbon hanefesh, making her into a girl who is far less impulsive. In fact, today Tali crosses the street as carefully as I do. Even more carefully than I do!
And then yesterday afternoon I met with Eli Bialik to bring him a present for his children and the cards from me and Tali. And he told me an incredible story– the epilogue to the accident…
Right after the accident, Eli told me, his neck had been stiff, and he went to do a general checkup in order to see if he had been injured in the accident. In the end, he hadn’t been. But his doctor requested that he go to do some routine blood tests. And the doctor shocked Eli by diagnosing him with diabetes.
Since the accident, Eli explained, he has gone on a strict diet prescribed by his doctor, and has even lost 10 kilos, or 22 pounds.
If not for the accident, Eli realized, it possibly would have taken him years to discover that he is diabetic. The dangers of untreated diabetes are: heart disease, strokes, blindness, kidney failure, loss of limbs, and possibly even death.
In life, we go through many tests and challenges. It is often so hard to see Hashem’s kindness in the difficult experiences that take place in our lives.
But I know for me, I will carry Tali’s accident with me over the years to come. It will remind me that Hashem’s kindness and love often come in unusual packages.
In this case, Hashem packaged his love in an accident that quite possibly saved my once impulsive daughter from future injury. In an accident that saved the man who saved my Tali, as well.