Dear Parent of a Sick Child (letter #3)

Dear Parent of a Sick Child,

It’s been a while, hasn’t it?  It has been too long since you laughed with authencity, thoroughly enjoyed a lunch date without that cloud of despair hanging over you, or even, been able to swallow your meal without effort?  People are telling you that it will be okay, but somewhere in that place of despair, you are wondering if things will be okay.  You know now, Parent of a Sick Child, that things will never be the same.

You look at the other kids in the neighborhood or in passing at the store.  You hear their laughter.  You feel their joy.  You see their smiles, and then, your thoughts are pulled down with the image of your own child fighting for a sense of normalcy beyond illness.

You get angry.  You spit at the curse of illness.  You want to rage at the reasons, and yet, you cannot find one.  Nothing makes sense anymore.  Your child, once vibrant, healthy, and in love with life, is now fighting to stay out of Heaven.

You have pleaded with God.  You have demanded an answer.  Your anger has sprouted wings.  Still…you know that anger breeds despair.  You do not want despair to knock on your door.  Instead, you want clarity.

You lift your child’s name up in prayer.  You ask others to do the same.  You question,

“Why my child? Why?  Please….WHY?”

And then, you return to reality.  You calm down.  You regain that strength that has kept your feet moving.  You meet with the doctors.  You discuss options.  You grab your child’s hand.  You wipe away tears while holding your own in.  You listen to others who agonize for your child.  You hug.  You comfort.  You absorb the pain.

Dear Parent of a Sick Child, has anyone thanked you lately?  Has anyone told you that he or she doesn’t know how you do it?  How do you continue to get up everyday and put on that smile of fortitude?  How do you keep on holding down a household, a job, and other responsibilities?

Maybe, just maybe, there have been times when you do not even know where you gather your strength from.  Perhaps, you wonder when your grit will be no more. You fear caving in to your sorrow.  You know, though, that you will never show the collapse of your armor to anyone else.

You seek the quiet corners of the hospital, the silence of your car, or the closed doors of your home.  In those places of solitude, you let it all out.  You wail.  You wonder.  You wish for a return to life before the sickness.

You want your child to live a life beyond all of this.

Dear Parent of a Sick Child,

Cling on to that spunk that is getting your child through the tough days.  Pray with continual perseverance.  Be present.  Demonstrate determination.  Speak of strength.  Whisper your mighty wishes.  All of this does not, and will not, ever go without notice.

Thank you, Dear Parent of Sick Child, thank you.

Thank you for not giving in, giving up, or walking away.

Thank you for the sleepless nights,

the continual nearness,

the courage to wipe away the tears of others,

the advocacy for what needs to be done,

the non-dented armor you wear every day,

and,

the light of hope you shine each day.

 

 

Dear Parent of a Sick Child (letter #2)

Dear Parent of a Sick Child,

You are still there, aren’t you?  You are still at the hospital awaiting for results, for your child to wake up, and for any glimpse of good news…anything that will settle your heart to the hope of a new day without sickness.  You are tired, but you do not want to show it.  You put on a strong face, but you wonder sometimes if you can keep this costume of strength on.

You have found yourself to be a superhero of sorts,  During those quiet moments, you feel like Clark Kent.  You feel vulnerable, weak, and absolutely human.  Yet, during those strong moments where your sick child is watching, you adorn yourself with that cape of strength that you have uncomfortably worn for a while now.  You become Superman or Superwoman.  You stay up all night watching the monitors next to your child.  You make a list of questions for treatment options, expectations, and possibilities.  That brave mask you wear that shows no sign of weakness or vulnerability is rarely taken off, especially around your sick child.

Yet, you sneak off to the isolated corners of the hospital where no one can see you.  You weep with the agony of a desperate heart.  You cry out, “Please, please. Heal my child.”  You bargain with God.  You tell Him that you would gladly trade positions with your child.  You would shorten your life in order to lengthen the life of your baby.  You, dear parent of a sick child, are a weary soldier.

Dear Parent of a Sick Child, be still now.  It is okay for you to weep in the quiet corners of the hospital, and to bargain about extending your child’s life.  It is okay for you to yearn to swap places with your sick child.  You are only human, you know.  But….

You are a warrior.  You hold your child with an incomparable measure of strength as he or she gets one more treatment, one more I.V. that cannot seem to find a vein, and one more painful test. You stay up all night in order to catch your child opening his or her eyes for the first time in several weeks.

Your shield has become one of hope.  It may get dings in it, but you never stop carrying it.  It has become your defensive weapon against those who bring you bad news.  Although dampened at times, it still reflects a light that others catch when around you.

You, parent of a sick child, are one of the toughest kind of parents.  You are a survivor of a war waged on the one person you would give your life for.  You did not ask for this.  You did not expect this.  You were barely able to stand when you received the news that broke your heart, but, you stood for your child.

Yes, you are a Superhero of sorts.  You are a warrior.  You wear the mask of bravery, the cape of strength, and the shield of hope.  

Dear Parent of a Sick Child, do you want to know something?

Your child knows you are there.  Your child sees your brave face.  Your child does not know that you disappear to the isolated corners of the hospital.  Your child does not realize that your knees buckled at the devastating news.  Your child also does not know that you bargain with God on his or her behalf.

Do you want to know why?

Because while you are busy being a non-glorified superhero, you step aside so that your child becomes the warrior, the fighter, and the one who receives the praise for being strong.  

Dear Parent of a Sick Child, your kind of strength only comes around every so often.  Most parents will (thankfully) never know the depths of exhaustion mixed with a sliver of hope that you have gone through.

Sneak off to the quiet corners of the hospital if you need to.  Pray, and plead with God about the life of your child.  Advocate for treatment options, keep your mask of bravery, cape of strength, and shield of hope on.  

For your child…

the one you pray over,

the one you bargain for,

the one your knees buckled in despair over,

the one you put on a mask of bravery for,

the one you wear your cape of strength around,

and the one you carry your shield of hope for,

will also wear a mask of bravery, a cape of strength, and a shield of hope.

Dear Parent of a Sick Child, you are a warrior.

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