I have a secret.
Sometimes I just watch you sleep. And I break into pieces of gratitude because I get to still have you soft and warm and breathing.
There’s a bond between parent and child. There’s a bond between parent and sick child. I don’t propose one is greater than the other but, certainly, there is a difference.
Both child and sick child rely on parent. But the sick child knows it. There’s no pretense of autonomy. Just a vulnerable dependence.
There is love for a child but there is love and desperate hope for the sick child. There is the constant care-taking and desperate hope again because you also see it in the face of your child.
There is something quite difficult to explain about the chronic pain. It’s there and you hate it. But you mostly hate it because you can’t for the ever-loving life of you make it stop. You can’t take it onto yourself. And you can never ever erase the image of those big eyes asking a question that defines the most soul-splitting of moments. Why are you letting this happen, mama? Because you’re mom or you’re dad and you’re supposed to fix everything. Only you can’t fix this.
So all of that makes the bond different. And makes the fear of loss different. And, I achingly imagine, it makes the loss entirely unbearable apart from Divine solace.
It’s all too much until I turn to the One who binds up wounds and willingly takes children into His arms. The One who can stitch together splits and make light in cracked places.
The LORD your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing. Zephaniah 3:17.