Sunday, January 19, 2014

A Letter of Encouragement

My Dearest Friend,

As you sit at home, alone, or surrounded by nurses and therapists, I realize how lonely you are.  No matter how many people step in to help, the ultimate care of your little one remains yours and yours alone.  The professionals can and will eventually leave and move on with their lives.  There is no moving on for you.  You have now begun this journey on a very lonely path.

I understand how frustrated you become at times, not only with the situation but also with your child.  You are not able to place your child in her crib and walk away when she has been crying for hours on end, because your little one needs constant supervision in order to keep her alive.  You are also not able to call your neighbor and ask that she stop in to give you a break when you feel you have had all you can take, as she is untrained to meet the medical needs of your child. 

I know the worry that you carry regarding your child's health and emotional issues. When the rest of the family is asleep and your little one has finally begun to rest, how you lie awake worrying about insurance coverage and bills and surgeries and not only what next year will bring, but how you will make it through tomorrow.

I have experienced the moments of crying out to God without having the words to express my pain and sorrow.  

I recognize the guilt that you have for feeling all of the above emotions.  This is not how you envisioned motherhood.  This was nowhere in the plan you laid out for your life. 

I also acknowledge your deep love and commitment for your child.  I know you are willing to give up personal comfort, wealth, your own career and your personal plans, in order to provide your child with all she needs.

I notice that you scour the internet looking for answers and a cure.  I have observed you on Facebook and blogs in hopes of finding some relief for your inner turmoil.  I recognize that you reach out to friends and share your hurt, frustration and loneliness. And I also realize that no matter what you do, at the end of the day you come back to the starting point of needing to walk a path that you never imagined or dreamed of walking.

The first two years of Caleb's life were filled with such loneliness, frustration and sorrow for me.  And I also reached out to others with the hope of somehow being released from the journey before me.

If I were sitting next to you, I would put my arms around you and allow you a good cry.  I would come over with coffee and just sit and visit and give you a chance to experience what a "morning out for coffee" feels like.  But because many miles come between us, let me offer you some encouragement.

What you are doing truly matters.  The endless sleepless nights, the speaking up when your child can't, the loneliness and sorrow.  It is all working in you to create a beautiful masterpiece.  While I was going through the early years with Caleb, I thought I was sacrificing myself and giving up my dreams.  In a sense I was, but what I received in return has been a change within that I never could have imagined.  I have become stronger and wiser. I am patient and caring.  I find value in so many things that I never found valuable before.  I see beauty where before I only saw heartache and sorrow.  What is occurring in you is the burning away of all self-centeredness and it is being replaced with a beautiful thing called love.  

Please reach out to others who can help (a counselor, a pastor or a friend who really understands).  There is no value in traveling this path alone.  And rather than fight what you are feeling, allow it to occur and over the years, sit back and watch the beautiful life that happens not only in your child, but especially within you.