I have friend’s whose son is very sick. It came from a simple accident, with a simple surgery to repair a broken bone, and then his body went haywire afterwards and landed him in a coma for 3 weeks; fighting for his life for the first week of that.
He’s out of the coma, is awake for little bits of the day, and trying to talk through his trachea tube. He can move his fingers and toes. They are preparing to move to a rehab hospital in a few weeks, for, they hope, only a month.
They have completely given up their lives to be at their son’s bedside – a fact which, I have no doubt, is helping their son in his will to live and recover.
They don’t know, can’t even guess, how little or much damage has been done in the boy’s brain.
Dad sends out email updates. I find myself reading and rereading these to the point of near-memorization. I get off the phone with Mom or Dad and cry. I say, “Thank you,” when people ask about him or send him love.
It’s almost as if I have taken him as my own.
And that’s the meat of it…knowing a sick and suffering child and family just hits way too close to home. Every thought I have of this child is intertwined with thoughts of my own and what if?
Mom and Dad’s agony and fear are almost unbearable to ponder, and yet, I continually put myself in their shoes. It’s almost as if I think about it enough, if it ever happens (dear god no) in my family, I will be better able to handle it?
I say that with a question mark because we all know it isn’t true.
Nothing can prepare a parent for this.
I think thoughts such as, “Would my child have the same will to live?”
“How could we possibly manage the f-ed up family dynamic in the hospital room?”
“Would I be just as devastated if it was Bobby instead of one of the 2 that I actually birthed?”
Absolutely – without a doubt.
“I don’t have the resources to put my entire life on hold and rent an apartment in another locale and just be at my child’s bedside. What would I do?”
And then my thoughts get so frightening that I stop myself.
I go back to thinking about their child, not mine. I think about the overwhelming love that family shares and the beauty and healing gifts it creates.
I think about their joy in even the tiniest of bits of progress and I feel that elation.
It helps me get out of the doom and gloom spiral.
It makes me want to hold mine ever so close.
It reminds me that I never knew fear until I became a mother.
And I never knew love until that moment also.