There are times in life when most of us just feel we can’t cope. We want to crawl under the bedcovers and hide, hoping that whatever is troubling us will simply disappear.
But as adults, we have to learn to move beyond this, get through it and emerge smiling at the other side. Not always easy, but certainly necessary.
My personal challenge
As mother to a little girl who needs extensive medical help for a range of conditions, I spend a lot of time at hospital with her. And one of the things I find really hard is the way life goes on at home.
I may not be there, but when I do come home, time has passed. My friends keep having play dates, kids go to school, bills still arrive and time passes.
Realistically, I know life has to go on, but it’s still hard not to be there. For a period of time, my life is confined to hospital grounds where there is no real night and day. It is defined into shifts, always hoping for a nurse with understanding and compassion. These are the things that dictate the mood for the day, making it easier to cope or crash.
The kindness of strangers
During these times, it’s the people who make all the difference. The lady at the hospital café making pleasant conversation and bringing familiarity to the day (particularly as she has known me since I was pregnant). The cleaner who is thoughtful when my daughter is sleeping and she is vacuuming the room. The social worker who comforts through the ever- falling tears and the pastoral care worker who offers a prayer for courage and strength.
Late at night in the ward a strange silence radiates through the rooms. It is not peace but existence.
Beside me a mother has a heartfelt conversation with her daughter. I can’t see them, but I hear the tears trickle down their faces. My heart hurts for their pain, whatever it may be.
In a week we have seen above eight families come and go in our room and being in such quarters you hear things. Things you sometimes don’t want to hear. There is pain far deeper than physical pain and it may not be able to be healed here.
Sadness lingers in people’s hearts. We are all here for a reason. There are kids who come here regularly and know the routine. There are newbies who will come and go, forgetting those they met. Then there is us, who come from a regional area and are sometimes lost in this big place and are trodden on, hurt and feel lost ourselves.
At times we feel we are failing and there is no one to catch us but somehow we keep pushing on. All the while hoping that we find our normality again.
Strength comes from unlikely places
A chance meeting of old acquaintances, new friendships, sharing lives – all put life into perspective. We are forced to stop thinking of ourselves and care for someone else. It’s time to share, to bring hope to someone else to and show them someone cares. We are all fighting the same battle for survival.
One mum said to me ‘remember you know your child best and when they can’t speak, you must’.
From then on, I found a strength inside me that I didn’t know was there.
Tears might flow but I find an inner strength to push on. It’s inside all of us and we just need to find it. I met mine in a dark hour. When I accepted where it came from, I grew and changed. My perspectives changed, empathy grew and I know I am a better person for my journey.
I’m not so quick to judge, I’m more understanding, patient, kind and find joy in the smallest triumphs. Most of all I have peace in accepting what I can’t change. But that doesn’t mean I settle, it means I am working with what I have, not what I don’t. We all have the power to overcome. You are stronger than you think.
Where does your strength lie?
We all have it, we just need to find it. Is there something in your life you need to accept that you are powerless to change? Is it holding you back from enjoying your life or finding contentment?
You’d be surprised at the amazing amount of inner strength we all have – discovering mine has given me a whole new perspective on life.
We all need to look at our challenges and how we handle them. It’s within yourself that you can find the strength you need to face life head on…