When I was in the third grade my family moved to a new neighborhood. The grade school in the new neighborhood was on a much higher level of learning than my former school. In order to help me catch-up to the level of my new class, my teacher made me sit next to the smartest girl in the class and instructed her to guide me. The girl's name was Caren. I admired Caren from the very beginning. She was not only the smartest girl in the class, she was full of life with a wide, bright smile and an unwaveringly positive attitude. She was an easy student to get along with, and she was loved by all the teachers and her fellow students. Caren and I became good friends. I actually felt honored that she wanted to be my friend, she was so universally loved and liked. I wasn't jealous of her, I just admired her - and I wanted to be just like her.
Caren had a bad cough, which I always assumed was some kind of cold or flu. Often her coughing would result in her face turning reddish-blue. The cough never seemed to go away and even worsened as time went by.
Our friendship blossomed, and we continued being friends throughout grade school, and then junior high school. In her fifteenth year Caren became too ill to attend school. Subsequently, she died that year of cystic fibrosis. I think of Caren often and mourn for her to this day.
In the last few years my eating has gotten out of control and I've gained about thirty kilos. My weight is not only unsightly, it is impinging on my health in various ways and keeping me from living a full and dynamic life.
During the Passover holiday I gained another five kilos. One night, during the holiday, I fell asleep and dreamed. Caren came to me. She was a woman in her forties in the dream, as she would have been had she lived. We enjoyed being together after so long and spoke of matters which I cannot recall in my waking state. In the dream both she and I wore identical black garments. Suddenly Caren looked at me and said: "You're getting very fat. You really do want to be just like me, don't you?"
I woke up from my dream and began a healthy diet immediately. I know in my heart that my friend Caren came to me from the next world in order to save my life. I love her more than ever. May her memory forever be a blessing.