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The Strength It Takes to Make Life-Altering Decisions for Your Sick Child

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As the mother of a very ill child with special needs, I am constantly faced with decisions. Some are easy. What outfit do we put her in today? What color cast do we choose? Will she like to take a drive or walk? Others are not so easy. And for some of us, the difficult decisions are never-ending.

When you are constantly faced with difficult, life-altering decisions, something happens. You find strength. It is generally a strength you didn’t know you possessed. And a strength most people cannot even begin to comprehend, that is, unless they too are in your shoes. There is a community of us out there. We are spread thin, and we often refrain from engaging with one another. I know I do this.

Strength can often be described in a physical manner. You may picture a body builder or an athlete. It can be described in a mental capacity. You may picture a scholar or teacher. I strongly believe it is both, and those of us living in life-altering conditions and finding the daily strength to power through, have both. We are not always perceived as being strong in a physical sense or a mental capacity, but there is an inherent ability within us to find strength during the most trying and challenging of situations.

Every time I walk my daughter in to the OR and hold her while she is being put under for yet another procedure, I look her in the eyes to let her know I am there and she is safe, she is OK. Then I lay her on a table and turn and walk away. I am faced with a moment where I have to dig deep. Both physically to walk out the door and know the physicians and nurses on the other side are taking the best care of my daughter, but also to tell myself again that the decision I made, whichever one it was this time, will benefit my daughter and help her to be the best she can be. We make decisions like these on a daily basis, i one form or another.

Before I was ever the mother to an amazing daughter, I didn’t know the strength I possessed when it came to making decisions in a difficult situation. I didn’t think about it. Nor do most people. And why would they? You don’t know what you don’t know.

With this, what I want to convey is that all of you parents, caregivers and anyone in our community who constantly has to make life-altering decisions for another person, has an uncommon type of strength. It is amazing, and we should be proud. Embrace and love your ability. We are both physically and mentally strong enough. It is a special skill set that few possess and many envy.

Be proud. I know I am. I am thankful every single day for my ability to be both physically and mentally strong under the most trying of situations. And all of this is to benefit someone you love the most.

Get up. Dress up. Show up. Never give up. Continue to be amazing.

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Thinkstock photo by gpointstudio

Originally published: January 22, 2017
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