Something good happened to me this morning. I have been bitter about something for years. Well today, that terrible feeling is GONE.
My daughter became sick when she was 10. What really got to me over years of pain and suffering was that she was not receiving the care or help she needed. My daughter was tagged as oppositional and difficult because she couldn’t run or play anymore, and she was sleeping for most of her days. Only when we moved to Atlantic Canada was she diagnosed with a variety of disorders – and it isn’t over yet.
Over the years, I have worked in one of Canada’s largest pediatric hospitals. I saw how many children where well cared for, particularly the ones battling cancer. After struggling for years with my daughter’s situation, I became numb to other children’s illnesses. Not because I got used to seeing them sick but rather because of the fact that they were receiving treatment while my daughter was left to suffer. I became so bitter about the whole thing, that I had no feelings for any child but my own. I know, this must sound very selfish of me…
But today, I had an appointment and to make a long story short, I spoke to someone who has a child battling leukemia. While this woman was standing over me doing her job (dental hygienist), I realized that it didn’t matter that her child is currently receiving cancer treatments while mine is still waiting for appointments to confirm the worst of her many diagnoses. In fact, as mothers of sick children, we are both broken. At one point during our conversation, she told me she would speak as a mother for one minute. Her eyes watered up and I could hear broken words through her mask as she was struggling to hold back her cries – they weren’t just tears. Again, the pain of having once told her daughter she was not sick because that is what she had been told by doctors. I know that pain all too well – and I told her it was OK because that is what parent’s of sick children do before a diagnosis is confirmed. Then she asked me if I could leave my daughter alone now that she is 16. I told her that I do because I have to get on with my life. Every morning, when I get up, my instinct takes me to her room to see if she is still alive. Every morning I am scared to find her void of life because her skin is blue from low blood pressure. The line is fine. I am afraid her heart will stop beating. But then I told her it was OK and that for now, every little moment my daughter is keeping up with the struggles of her illness is a good moment. I do not have a choice. This is what my life is like for now. To that, I saw in her eyes that she knew exactly what I meant. Only then did I understand that we are very much alike and that we must stand together.
The bitterness or resentment is all gone and this is perhaps the best feeling I have had in a very long time. I pray that her little girl battles the monster and that my own child masters her illness just enough to enjoy the light of life.