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To the Parent Whose Child Is Constantly in the Hospital

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Dear parent whose child is constantly in the hospital,

I know that during long hospital stays with your baby, days become perpetually the same.

You start ignoring the beeps from the monitors because it blends in with the rest of the familiar noise.

You look forward to the nurses coming in to do vitals so you can have some adult interaction.

You are surprised by the friends you thought would be your support system and the people who you never expected to reach out.

You feel isolated from the world, more alone than you could possibly imagine.

You get used to everyone saying, “Is there anything I can do, do you need anything?” But know your requests might be a far stretch from how much people actually want to help.

You wonder if the texts you receive are obligatory, if they feel like they’ve done their good deed for the day.

You make eye contact with another mother as she walks down the hallway past you.

You can tell she’s feeling your stress. Wearing sweats. Hair up.

She’s walking to the family lounge to microwave her leftover coffee, but even that won’t hide the bags under her eyes from all the sleepless nights, being woken up by nurses every few hours and trying to wrap her head around what is happening.

I know how hard it is to entertain your child while here, to keep their spirits up, but no one to lift yours.

I know it’s painful for you to watch every IV put in, every test being administered, every vial of blood being taken.

Every poke to them is a stab at your heart.

You may be in the room next to me, or a few rooms down, but I feel a connection to you.

I understand the worries you have deep in your soul.

I understand the fight and your will to have your voice be heard.

I understand the isolation you feel from the outside world, from your friends, and from the life you had before you were here.

I don’t know why your child is here. I don’t know when your child will be leaving.

But for now, I will continue to smile at you when we pass.

I hope you know my smile is more than friendly. I want it to show you that I get it. I understand.

Remember, you are not under this cloud alone.

Originally published: August 21, 2018
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