This story from the 16th of Tammuz about a seven year-old boy who drowned at camp continues to haunt both me and my wife. Each night we talk about it a little more. It makes us hug our daughter a little tighter before she leaves for camp each day.
The article reported:
"The child, a member of the Jewish Community Center day camp in Rockville, was one of five children taking the swimming lessons with a swim instructor. Approximately 15 to 20 children were in the pool. Two lifeguards were on duty, along with several other camp staff members at the pool, police said."
No matter how I try to understand how this could have happened with so many people nearby, I just don't understand. I cannot fathom what it was like to be this boy's parents upon hearing this horrible news; knowing that regardless of the fact that there was supervision, that now your child was dead.
I am so haunted by this story that thinking about it brings me to tears. I wished there was something I could do for these parents whom I do not even know, so on Sunday evening I went over to the shiva house.
While both parents looked horrible, the boy's father looked completely devastated; staring blankly and talking only in whispered tones. Despite his tall and muscular stature, he appeared to be no more than a shell of a human being with only the barest of life force sustaining him.
Another person introduced me to him and I told him that I had to come to let him know that my family had given tzedakah in merit of his son. I told him that I was a father of three small children and that I had to come after I heard what had happened.
The boy's father expressed his gratitude that I came and hugged me tightly. Later, before I left, I went over to him again, and without speaking, I hugged him; hoping that this gesture might bring even the tiniest bit of comfort.
Walking down the street afterwards, crying, I looked upwards and said,
"Ribbono shel Olam, please help this family. Please help this family. Please help them!!"