I wanted to share an open letter to my incredible parents. Thank you for being strong when I can’t be.
I’m currently crying in the neurology department waiting room. Yes, I’m a bit sleep deprived and these wires are irritating as all hell so I’m an emotional mess…but I look to my left, and there is a mother assisting her physically impaired daughter in a wheelchair. I’ve been sitting next to them for a grand total of five minutes? Maybe ten? And this mother’s compassion is BEAMING. her love is radiating throughout the room. Her patience is admirable. Her soft tone is soothing. She continues to make her daughter smile.
To my right there is a family signing to their son. Despite their silence, I can see hope in their eyes and glimpses of happiness within their smiles.
I’ve had this conversation with a few of my exes before. What would you do if you knew (before your child was born) that they were going to endure potentially significant health struggles? This ethical dilemma of scientific diagnostic work prior to the baby’s birth (I actually really do not know how this works but I’ll conduct some highly empirical google research) and the decisions that follow after the results, are beyond challenging. Perhaps you haven’t even began parenthood, and you’re already faced with these life changing questions. and it is LITERALLY life or death. Majority of the people I’ve spoken to claimed they didn’t have the ability to raise a child with any developmental, physical, behavioral, or severe mental illness. This is heartbreaking. And I’m not sitting here pointing fingers and claiming to have the ability to do it…because dealing with my own medical bullshit is beyond tiring and time consuming. Would I be able to give my child everything they need?
Of course we are ALL cheering for the recovery of the children. We want the best for everyone. We want healing and answers and less hospital visits. We want happiness for those who don’t achieve it so effortlessly. But what I’ve been failing to recognize…is the undying love and support that these parents/caretakers have within them. Skipping hair appointments to get your child’s blood drawn. Losing sleep out of fear of what may happen to your child when you’re not around. Lack of socialization because your child is your sole priority. I’m not saying that all family dynamics with sick children are like this…but I have the utmost respect for those parents who fight. Every. Single. Day. For their children. Those parents who sacrifice everything to ensure their children can have the lives they deserve. The mothers that want to shield their daughters from the cold world and the fathers who so badly want to throw a football with their son but won’t ever have the opportunity to do so.
I applaud these mothers. I applaud these fathers. I applaud these caretakers. These families. The ones that never get up. The ones that sometimes fight harder than their children. I vividly remember the first time I did my inpatient stay. My mom knew all the right questions to ask the doctors. My dad slept on a small hospital love seat for days. My mom sat next to me in the bed crying and praying (which brings tears to my eyes as I write this). They fought for me HARD. when I felt like giving up, they didn’t.
So this is an appreciation post. On behalf of all the sickies in the world who are lucky, who are BLESSED enough to have such incredible support systems…thank you. My love for you all endless.
Over and out