I remember when Ollie was 2 months old and we almost lost him. To say it was scary is an understatement to the max. An ambulance trip up to Doernbecher and 8 days later, we had some answers that thankfully saved his life. But we were in the dark for a while. We weren’t certain we’d come home with our sweet boy. We had to wait and see.
When you walk so narrowly close to death that you can smell it and feel it, there are very few things that take on that sort of intensity. We still don’t understand the mental game that most doctors felt they needed to play with us, because we were given the WORST case scenario. It seemed like it was the doctors protocol and somehow they were doing it for our own good. We were told Ollie might not ever walk, talk, roll over, swallow, live past his toddler years, do anything ever…the list went on and on and on.
“Take him home and love him,” said the doctors. So we did. And the unknown was scarier than anything I’ve ever experienced thus far. And shortly after we were home and on the road to recovery I remember looking around at all the people who had healthy children. And in my pain I looked at literally every person and in my head, smiled at them and said “F*^# you…F*^# you… F*^# you too….” I would literally go around hating the whole world. And I didn’t really hate everyone. I was just so badly hurting and it felt SO unfair.
But slowly I started imagining myself in 40 years. My little boy would be all big and grown. Who knows if he’d live with me or somewhere else… and I would be grey and wrinkly. And I would be damning the whole world, a big bitter lady that had a scrunched up nose and complained of constipation. I’d watch TV and grumble about my microwave dinner and all the crime in the world. I could see it (thankfully!). I was doomed… and I didn’t want to be.
That’s when I started having a change of heart. My prayer stopped being “why me?!” and it started being “please keep me compassionate.” I had a new goal.
Growing up I had a terrible experience with cats and therefore… cats are NOT my thing. But I know they are some people’s thing. And I have witnessed people loving cats like they love people and drawing relationship from cats, like they do people. It’s something I don’t understand, but I’m open to it being their reality.
Therefore, my new prayer became “Lord… please help me to have the ability to cry with someone whose cat has just died.” If I could do that, it would mean freedom from jealousy, ridicule, hate, you name it! When I witnessed Ollie almost die, the last thing I thought I’d be able to do is to have compassion on a human who was sad about their cat. It’s a cat for Pete’s sake!
But continuing to work this little heart exchange out… I really feel like it’s come full circle. When compassion goes away and the “F” word rises up…that’s my red flag…the little voice that says, “take notice Amanda! You’re sad! And you feel alone in your sadness!”
And when that voice pipes up, I seek peace to realize that I’m not alone. I’m loved. Ollie is cared for. And sweet Mildred down the street who just lost Garfield?…she could use a hug and some flowers.
We’re all going to experience pain to differing degrees. And to over-state it… pain is pain.
Compassion and love soothes those wounds. And I want to be a paramedic for souls lost in hurt. Compassion can heal.
For all of you momma’s out there that are hurting… You’re not alone in it. Your child is seen and loved. You are loved. And someone else’s pain doesn’t compete with yours. It just simply is… Pain is pain. And compassion will heal.