Friday, February 09, 2007

A kind heart

I have been thinking on this idea for quite some time and now I think I can fully talk about it.

When Evan was first born and I was adjusting to my new reality having never even imagined that heart defects would be in my future I was not sure how to deal with the pity that I often saw in people's eyes when I told them about my son. Once I told them they suddenly started thinking that anything they might complain about was paltry in comparison to what I was dealing with.

It may be my personality but I never really understood that kind of feeling. I was lucky where so many parents were not. My child had gone through scary things but he was alive and had the expectation of having a very normal life should his repair surgeries go well.

A good friend of mine would often preface her comments when we were talking about the health issues of our children that they were nothing compared to what I had gone through. Yeah, her son had not endured an open heart surgery, but he had still been gravely ill. Her terror for her son's life was just as valid as mine and just because I had been through something worse did not mean that my heart was so drained of emotion that I would stop empathizing with other people just because they had not been through what I had. My own mother started saying things like that too until I told her to knock it off. I needed to hear all the boring every day stuff going on in her life so that even though I was stuck in the hospital with my son I could still feel connected to my family.

I am so incredibly lucky to have such a sweet loving little boy as a son who has stuck around so that I will be able to see him grow up more. Each day with him is a gift, but then each day is a gift even for people that are seemingly healthy and have no concrete expectation to die any time soon. Don't feel bad when someone tells you about bad things going on in their life if things are going good for you or even if they are not. An ear to listen and a kind heart are all that are needed to help when you are confronted with someone who has a child dealing with health issues, no pity is needed for them or you.

And now for something completely different. Here is a cute picture of Harry taken this afternoon. He had been breath holding and did his normal pass out routine but instead of getting right back up and whining some more he fell asleep right where he was. I had to keep Evan from waking him up while I was making lunch.


Damselfly said...

Thanks for that. You're an inspiration.

Mel said...


I can totally relate to what you are saying. It's the listening ears and soft hearts that make a difference.

Vancouver mermaid/Montreal photographer said...

You're right. People who have children that are different than other people's children, don't need pitty.

I have two children that are perfectly healthy, and I'm about to have 2 beautiful step sons, who happened to be autistic. It really bugs me when I speak to people, that their look of "wow, congratulations!" changes to "oh, I'm sad for you" when I tell them I'm getting married to someone who has 2 autistic kids.

Excellent Post!

Gina said...

I think it's human nature to try and downplay your misfortunes, whether they be of a health kind or whatever when comparing them to others.

At least, normal people, anyway.

Nice post!

Nanette said...

I loved this post. Often, I think people are just uncertain how to react. We all have our own lemons to deal with in life, you are absolutely right.

Thanks for sharing your perspective.