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When Nothing Can Prepare You to Say Goodbye to Your Child

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Saira kissing her son, Amaan.

Saira and Amaan.

Strength and perseverance come naturally when you are a special needs parent. You learn to overcome obstacles on a daily basis. You are taught the most beautiful lessons of love, patience, hope, courage and moving on by your child only.

Friends and strangers view you as a very strong individual, and with every passing day you are more and more aware of your strength. People keep on commenting about how great of a parent you are and what a superb job you are doing. The phrases like, “you are a hero,” and “how do you do it so well” are repeated by many.

But nothing, nothing prepares you to say goodbye to your child. No matter how much you are both struggling, no matter how scary it’s become. The severity of the disease, the fatal condition of your child — nothing and no one can prepare you for this loss.

“We are going to lose him.”

I was frozen with the echoes of these words as soon as it came out from the doctor’s mouth. How can you prepare yourself for your child’s death? How do you handle, let alone save yourself from this gigantic blow?

Everything around you seizes. Stops. Period. No movement. No feelings. You are only breathing, and then you accept it. I was hit with this most painful blow a little over seven months ago. My son, Amaan, was only 13 years old. He was pure, lovable, happy, naughty and full of life. He was a born fighter. Living with a rare mitochondrial disease, he often succumbed to the worst seizures. But his happy-go-lucky, positive aura was his strength, and mine too.

He taught me to handle pain with smiles, to keep walking in the dark tunnel, to keep moving and holding on. He taught me how to handle grief. Amaan continued to give me strength even in his last days.

He still does.

Originally published: September 7, 2016
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