Today as we set out for our local amusement park our youngest daughter rides alone with her grandparents. For a fleeting moment I entertained the notion that if something had happened to her this is how our family would be permanently. Just the four of us, Mama, Papa, Brudder & GG, riding alone, even within a group. Oddly still large enough to be considered a family, but with a major hole invisible to the outside world.
Each day across the world, parents face challenges in just regular ole being a mom or a dad, then there those of us dealing with life altering physical diseases of ourselves or of our children. Reminders of what could have happened to Isa keep me firmly planted in a field of gratitude.
Of course, as any parent of a child with cancer knows , during treatment we keep a militaristic watch on our child’s condition obviously hoping for the best. Sometimes we get it, thus resulting, hopefully, in a long-lasting compassion for others in similar situations.
Typically, BC, before cancer, I would have described myself as an empathetic person. Sometimes I am grateful for cancer, because now I can easily say that my understanding moves more toward being a sympathetic person. For example when I watch documentaries like Born Schizophrenic: Jauary’s Story I have a greater understanding of what it means to have a child with an illness. Something I read on her father’s blog stuck with me. He mentioned the societal acceptance of physical impairment and the continued disregard for mental illness. Although all of us with deathly ill children have at least one experience with negative comments they are often relegated to times when our children were bald or in a wheel chair or when on steroids. Imagine a lifelong affliction like bipolar or schizophrenia even autism where a child’s behavior can cause comments sparked by ignorance or disdain. Or perhaps even worse a complete lack of any attention at all.
Maybe in these cases it is the child who rides alone.