As parents, one of our main goals is, [among the many, many goals], to keep our children safe. To raise and take care of them from before they’re born, until they are full-grown and thriving.
Fresh in my mind are the journeys of three different sets of parents [all are people I do not know, but we have mutual friends] who each have a child who is currently hospitalized. These three kids range from an infant, to an elementary aged kid, to a teenager.
All three families have been sharing their travails on Facebook Groups, enabling them to keep family, friends, acquaintances and colleagues informed. And all three have written about how this is their worst fears realized.
It’s absolutely heart wrenching.
I’ve been a mom for twenty-three years, over half of my life. My kids are just entering adulthood. It’s been the toughest job I’ve ever had. I’ve been through a lot with my own kids; brief and typical sicknesses, sports injuries, a car accident with one, variant heartbreaks and multitudinous disappointments for both.
When I read the words from these parents; their sheer exhaustion, their fears realized, their faith shaken, even their rants, as they rail against the absolute unfairness of their child’s diagnosis, or prognosis…I can only empathize, but I acutely empathize.
This immediately takes me back to my own experience with a major illness requiring hospitalization. At my scariest junctures, those darkest and most precarious moments, the pervasive thought in my head was, “at least it’s me going through this, and not either of my boys”.
Because as parents that is what we think, as well as the other side of the coin, “I would take his or her place in a heartbeat to spare them of this”, whatever this may be.
Even when one of my own has a cold and then I get it worse, I’m usually thinking better me than them. I’m not even sure that’s a logical thought, but it’s instinctive.
I felt terrible that my kids had to see me in the hospital bed hooked up to machines. I couldn’t imagine how scary that must have been. But still,I was so glad it was me and not them.
When it was time for my husband to call them, I did think about how it was going to affect my own parents, even though I am grown, and it was hard on them. Same fears, same feelings of helplessness.
One father in particular wrote about how life changed in an instant for his family, and this thought hit the nail on the head for me. How last week their problems were about regular stuff; back to school, petty sibling rivalries, the need for groceries and whatnot.
Life can change in an instant.
That goes for bad and good news.
Thankfully all three families have each recently had some positive feedback, too. They were then able to share this news promptly on social media. Seeing the outpouring of joy and support can then give them a boost they need to carry on some days.
And they do need support and boosts of love and joy while they face these seemingly insurmountable obstacles. No one can really understand exactly what anyone else is going through. Everyone’s journey is their own.
Social media has given the world such an easy way to be involved when people are in crisis. No doubt, as usual, there’s a way or ways that it is a double-edged sword.
I personally had my younger son “close” my Wall on Facebook while I was hospitalized and in a rehabilitation center. It was a personal decision, because I felt that I wanted to wait until I was ready to share.
But for those who feel ready to share, or want a way to get their message out, I am glad they have a place to do so.
Being in a hospital for days or weeks is an experience you hope to never have. So now, if kind, caring messages of love, inspiration and support, have a quick and easy way to get to those affected, doesn’t it sound as if they could do some real good?
And if there’s one thing that parents from all walks of life can agree on it might be this…the feeling of helplessness when our children are sick or hurt is about the worst thing imaginable.
If you do happen to see someone willingly sharing their personal nightmare, you can bet that they will value hearing from you.
Makes you want to just hug up your kids really tight, doesn’t it?
— Raina K Morton Sept 16 2014
***Today’s title is from a Counting Crows’ song “Rain King”, a favorite of mine…