Dear Parent of a Sick Child,
Hello there. How are you? No, really…how are you? I’m sure you are tired, worried, overwhelmed, desperately seeking normalcy, and wondering when your child will get better. I hope my words bring you encouragement.
When I was a sick child, I remember being cared for by adults. I remember the adults that surrounded my bedside whispering encouragement into my ears. I remember never waking up alone in my hospital room, never wondering if I would be taken care of, and never imagining that I was not loved.
My memories are mostly like flashes from a movie screen. These moments are frozen in time. I knew I was in an immense amount of pain, but I don’t remember the pain. I don’t remember the struggle to survive. I don’t remember my body being ravaged by infection. I don’t remember these moments at all.
I do, however, remember the love I felt in the room. I remember the gentle rubbing of my arms, the softness of someone holding my hand, the brushing away of my hair from my eyes, and the kisses on my face. I remember these things.
I remember receiving cards, letters, balloons, flowers, stuffed animals, and just about anything else that would bring a smile to me. I remember waking up with my parents there….all of the time. Even when I was in and out of consciousness, I remember them.
I also remember my parents never showing their fear, despite being filled with it. I remember how they showed great strength; even though their bodies wore the trappings of exhaustion. I remember their caring hands, their patience with my recovery, and their filling-in to meet my daily needs. I remember being told I was a “little trooper”, and that my will to live was stronger than any illness. I remember my mother giving me baths in the hospital, and my dad holding my hand as often as he could.
Please, dear parent, please know that your presence is precious to your sick child. Your bravery is beautiful, and your courage is contagious. Don’t stop fighting for your child. Don’t stop asking questions about treatment options. Don’t stop whispering sweet words of hope into your child’s ears. These words will resonate deep down in your child.
Tell your child how much you love them. Tell your child that he or she is the bravest little one you have ever seen. Tell your child stories of healing. Tell your child that he or she is a superhero. Give your child the hope that you are clinging to. Pray for your child; pray over child; and ask others to join in your prayers.
Your child knows you are there. He or she knows it, even if not awake. Don’t forget that. You are the most significant person in his or her life. You matter. Please, dear parent, please know how much you mean to your sickly child.
Hang in there. You are in a situation that you never dreamed you would be in. You would give anything to trade positions with your baby, but you cannot. I know how hard that must be for you.
Dear Parent of a Sick Child, get some sleep. Ask for help. Take care of yourself. You are a superhero. You are a trooper. Your will is strong. Don’t forget these things.
Your child needs you.
Bless you, dear parent, bless you. Thank you for striving for the best care for your child. Thank you for holding his or her hand in the middle of many sleepless nights. Thank you for putting on the bravest face you can during this difficult time.
Dear Parent of a Sick Child, what you are doing matters. Your strength, your wisdom, your love, your hope, your courage, and your presence are the greatest gifts you can give your child. Don’t forget that, and don’t be discouraged.
Your child will remember your presence more than the pain.
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