Only those going through it can truly appreciate the massive impact that an unhealthy child will have on a parent. They are a living expression of the fact that every life is precious.
Despite every life’s remarkable value, we can innocently come see our lives as a blind routines, where the loved ones we encounter each day are taken for granted. They lose their value only because we’ve lost consciousness of the fact that no life is guaranteed.
That lack of awareness applies to ourselves as well, so it serves us well to remember that –sick child or not– the parents lives are also precious. We are all someone’s child, and we are all worthy of the care we require when we’re under extreme strain.
There is no question that the child comes first. But the sheer enormity of the feelings associated with the child’s experience makes having a ‘sick kid’ a taxing time for any parent. That’s exactly why it is important for the parents to not be entirely absent from their own consideration.
None of us can drive the people we love to where they want to go if we don’t ensure we have the fuel to get there.
It depends on the dynamics of the family, the individuals, the ages, the reason the child is in the hospital –each family reacts differently. Under whichever conditions, and for no intentional reasons, some marriages grow closer and some become strained.
Even in many strained relationships, the marriages are fine, but very stressed people can have trouble recognizing that without a very particular kind of help. And people often know they need that help, but they’ll also often have narratives that appear to prevent them from following their own beckoning wisdom.
In these narratives, the parents of ‘sick kids’ tell themselves stories about being a bad parent, being selfish, about how they should ‘buck-up,’ or about how weak they are to feel genuinely weak. But those narratives are all just words.
If parents recognize the ephemeral nature of thought, their choice of action can contradict the stories they concoct in their heads. We are all always free to ignore all of that rationalization and we can trade that for trusting ourselves to know whether or not we need care. If we do, there is no shame in calling to get it.
Having an actual ‘sick kid’ is simply an awful experience. But going through that experience with a better understanding of ourselves can profoundly impact how we engage with life and with others –including our sick kids.
The unfortunate challenges in life can also be experiences that help us discover closer, deeper versions of our connections to others. Turning a negative into a positive; that’s how powerful love is.
Following a serious childhood brain injury Scott McPherson unwittingly spent his entire life meditating on the concepts of thought, consciousness, reality and the self. This made him as strange to others as they were to him. Seeing the self-harm people created with their own overthinking, Scott dedicated part of his life to helping others live with greater awareness. He is currently a writer, speaker and mindfulness instructor based in Edmonton, AB, where he finds it strange to write about himself in the third person.