We woke up this morning to a large red ring around my daughter’s belly button. Thankfully this episode was on a regular weekday instead of a Sunday. It was like God listened when I prayed for some weekend medical relief, or rather wrote all about it here. He must of forgotten, however, that we were just at the doctor yesterday for her 7 year check-up.
I was immediately convinced that our daughter had Lyme disease and sent out a text to the “forces” that help pray and send good energy when requested. Twenty minutes later my husband lets me know that the doctor is not worried and to just wait and watch to make sure it doesn’t get worse. Humbled, I text the aforementioned forces that all is fine and that I yet again, pre-maturely freaked out because of my co-dependent relationship with Google and WebMD. We have been through enough medical trenches for a lifetime and WebMD hasn’t ever been helpful as to what our children were really suffering with. You would think that by now I would have learned. I can’t help myself, though. Old co-dependent relationship patterns die hard. Thankfully the news that these sites have told me about my children’s imminent death have all been wrong.
Now, though, I’m pray-writing that it actually doesn’t get worse. We’ve had that “just wait and see if it gets worse” twice now. Both times we have had to rush to the emergency room. Once with our son’s Guillain-Barre (WebMD can explain that pretty accurately, if needed) and then with our daughter’s severe pneumonia that antibiotics couldn’t quite get to. Both times I found myself sharing the hospital elevator with a family bringing all of their child’s belongings, but not their child. Both times I was filled with overwhelming feelings of both sadness and gratitude. And then, guilt. Why their child and not mine? Why do I get to leave with my child, and that family has to go home with all of their hopes and dreams for the child they brought into this world shredded into tiny little pieces?
The time my son was oh so sick and all of the sudden couldn’t walk, the doctors had been scratching their heads for a good 24 hours and we were awaiting the results of a spinal tap. I had stepped out of the room for a break and walked back to the hospital chaplain standing outside the door waiting for me. He asked me if I was who I was. I said yes and about passed out. I thought he had gotten word of the spinal tap results before we had and was coming to offer the saying of my 18-month old son’s last rites. Fortunately, that is not why he had come to visit. He had simply come to check on us and to see if we needed anything. That, my dear friends and fellow parents, is the closest I have come to the grief that must be felt with the loss of a child and that is as close as I hope to ever get. The sadness, gratitude and guilt flood me right now as I write these words. I cannot imagine, or, I can almost imagine. I guiltily and gratefully hope that almost imagining is all I ever have to do.
I don’t know why not my children. I never will. Or, maybe God will tell me all about it once I’m gone from this place here on earth. I don’t know. I also don’t know that one day my husband and I won’t be the ones on a hospital elevator with our child’s belongings and not our child. I pray-write right now that I don’t have to ever experience that. Close counts, in my opinion. Meeting that chaplain outside my son’s hospital room was close enough for me. So too when the doctors were worried that my daughter had an incurable brain infection before they found out what was really wrong and how to actually fix it. Oh, and my son’s seizure on the side of the interstate was pretty dang close too. You can read about that here.
I am not sure why I’m writing this all out right now other than maybe I am truly pray-writing that that is as close as I have to get to that grief. Maybe I’m pray-writing for all of those families who have lost their child(ren). Maybe I’m pray-writing overwhelming gratitude to the doctors, nurses and to my “forces” that I can always count on to pray for me when I can’t. I think maybe I am. And, I don’t make promises because I am terrible at keeping them, but today I will promise to actually pray out loud when I can remember. I will pray that my children will be here for a good long time. I will pray for those grieving the loss of their own, and I will say a prayer of gratitude for all who have helped us along the way. There are so many of you. Thank you.