We always gravitate to those like us. We join knitting circles, book clubs, hiking groups and community service organizations. We watch the game with other sports fans and we go to the beach with other beach bums. Whatever your fancy there is a group for you. When we become parents, at least the females among us, we often join mom's groups.
But there is one group that none of us aspire to join and that is support groups for parents of medically fragile or challenging kids. We join these groups for the same reasons we join the others. We want to be with someone like us. We want someone we can relate to. We want to vent to people who REALLY get it. We want someone to lift us up and celebrate each milestone no matter how obscure or non-eventful it might seem to others. We pass on doctor's names, funny little tips (how else would I have found out that the syringes that are made for feeding baby squirrels are highly superior to the medical grade ones), the latest research and tried and true wisdom. We also share each others sorrows. For as much as there is great joy, there is great pain. As I become more and more involved with other mothers who have medically challenging children, I know more and more who are suffering, from depression, from despair and from grief.
This is something I did not realize was part of the package of getting the support, encouragement and understanding that I so desired. The grief of one mom, is the grief of us all. Even if our child is not suffering now, we realize how fragile they really are. Nothing can be taken for granted. Every day children are hurting, they are in pain that doctor's cannot touch. Every day their parents are watching, hoping, praying, researching and feeling utterly helpless because their child suffers and they cannot fix it. Every day a parent gets bad news, really bad news. The kind you hear about and think I don't know if I could handle that. Parents get told their child is dying, there is no cure, there's nothing else we can do and then they have to go in and decide if and when and how to tell their child. They grieve their child's future while trying to make the most of every day. They appear strong, almost saint-like but inside they are all churned up, so many feelings, so much pain. I am here to say they are not alone. I grieve for their children and for them. So do many others. More often than we would like to admit we are unable fix things and the only response is to grieve and pray. Grief is not giving up hope for a future, that is never done. Grief is realizing that something precious has been lost and mourning that.
To all my friends who suffer with your children, you are not alone. I grieve with you.