It Never Gets Easier: Caring for a Sick Child

It Never Gets Easier- Caring for a Sick ChildWelcome to Day 28 of the 31 Days of Random Reflections on Raising and Homeschooling a Child with Special Needs. You can find the main page for this series here.

Note: On day 28 of this series, my son got sick and was hospitalized for a couple of days. At the time of this writing, he’s still not fully recovered. I was going to publish what I originally had planned to end this series, but instead, I’ve decided to make the finale a true reflection of what it’s like to raise and homeschool a child with special needs. We may have the best laid plans, but we can never set them in stone. Things change from one minute to the next. The remainder of this series mirrors just that.

They say it will get better with time.

They say you’ll learn to cope.

They say this will become your new normal.

But, it never gets easier.

A new episode of illness never gets easier to sit through.

A new diagnosis never gets easily swallowed.

Another hospital stay never gets easier to endure.

It never gets easier.

They say you’ll become desensitized.

They say you’ll get stronger from the lessons you’re meant to learn.

They call you amazing for having come out of it with smile.

They whisper, “You’ve got this.”

But, you don’t ever feel like you do.

You’re hurting in your bones for all your child has to withstand.

You’re feeling bits of you chip away with each episode.

You’re pretty sure your heart will break into tiny pieces if you have one more night of worry.

It’s not easier.

Even if you’re better prepared and better equipped and have new lists of how to make it better the next time, it never gets easier.

You’re tired and broken and carrying years-worth of pain.

You’re never dealing with this one episode alone.

You’re dealing with every single one that came before it and that you were sure you left behind but never did because you just needed to keep going with the next thing and move forward and deal and move forward and deal and move forward and deal again.

With all the support in the world only you know the true loneliness and true reality of a situation that never gets easier to witness.

You never get past orderlies pinning your child down so nurses can insert an IV.

You never get over your child lying underneath X-ray machines larger and heavier than he’ll ever be.

You never get over seeing your own flesh and blood suffer.

It just never gets easier.

The pain is so deep and so permanent but you keep going because your child needs you to keep him comfortable and safe and on the road to recovery.

Even though you know better, even though you understand that positive thinking will help change your attitude and possibly help make a difficult situation better, you can’t muster the energy to do it for a part of you knows it won’t really get easier.

As much as you try and how much you pray, you never get better at handling the stress.

You never worry less.

You never stop watching your child wondering how you can take away his pain and disappointment by absorbing it all yourself.

You want to replace all parts of his life that make him suffer — that make him different from other children.

You want so badly to give him a normal life.

But, you can’t.

And, the reality of his diagnosis doesn’t get easier.

All you can allow for is love and presence to go through all of the pain together.

I know that one day we’ll all understand the suffering.

One day, we’ll be able to fully surrender.

One day, we will know what easy really means.

Until then, it just doesn’t get easier.

 

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