Thursday, February 08, 2007

A sick mom

DH and I were talking last night, and he said, "You've had a rough coupla years, haven't you?"

That's an understatement.

"Do you think J has any idea how hard things have been for you?"

J is our 4, almost 5 year old son.

"No, I don't. He's only now old enough to be aware of things like that."

And I think that's true. If things are basically stable for little ones, they tend to thrive. And I can definitely say my child is thriving. But I know that PKD will always be a part of his life, whether he gets tested for it or not. His mother will always be going to the doctor, and he already knows that Mom's kidneys are sick. He will always be involved with the PKD Foundation, just because we will always be invovled with it, no matter how peripherally. And he is definitely going to be aware if these kidneys of mine fail, and I'll need a transplant. That's the kind of thing that a kid just can't ignore. I just hope it happens at a time when he is old enough, mature enough, and secure enough to handle it.

Right now, my life is fairly normal, and I think I'm giving my child a fairly normal, happy, healthy childhood. My own childhood was pretty stable, with my own parents always having average to excellent health, which they still maintain. I don't know what it's like to have a mom who is sick. I don't know how to prepare my son for the inevitable. I have no idea of what tools he will need, or how my disease will affect him.

I guess that's just another reason to thank my lucky stars for such a good husband. No matter what happens to me, it's comforting to know that my son will always have his dad to hold his hand.


Lisa M. said...

I've thought about this a lot. Our situations are so different, but things like this cross my mind too.

I spend a great deal of my time considering what will happen to Ethan, after I am no longer capable of taking care of him.

Will my other children be robbed of normalicy for always having to take care of him in some fashion? ect, ect, ect.

But, I'll tell you what I honestly think though, in my heart of hearts, is that we are softly and gently preparing our children for their future, no matter what that future might contain.

With the soft gentle whisperings of involvement with the PKD Foundation, with discussion of sick kidneys with an open and honest, reasonable dialog, you're preparing him... and no matter what that future holds, he'll respond in kind.

I think it is good to provide our children with stable enviornments ... but, at the end of the day we each have experiences and hardships that are unique to ourselves and our families, and... life isn't ever fair. (Oh how unfair that is.. )

You're preparing him, and YOU... for those hard hurtles that come.

Just like, I am preparing my children for a life long commitment to a sibling, I won't always be able to care for.

And at the end of the day... I think the experiences we have had with Ethan... have made us all, better people..

You're doing good Momma...

I wish you peace.

Heather O. said...

Lisa, thank you so much for that beautiful comment. You're doing good too, Momma!

For what's it worth, my SIL is severely mentally disabled. When I was dating DH, before I even met her, he told me all about his sister. He said that he and his older sister had talked about how the person they would marry would have to be somebody who would be able to shoulder the responsibility for this sibling, for although she can function in a group setting, she will always need strong family support for the rest of her life. I knew that in marrying him, I would be a part of that support system, knowing that there might even come a time when she would have to come and live with us, should the need arise. DH made it quite clear that taking care of her was part of the bargain, and I willingly agreed to the job. We live on the opposite side of the country from her now, and our entire marriage has been spent in fairly distant geographic proximity to her, but I've talked extensively to DH's older sister, and she knows we are aware and open to the possibility of taking care of their youngest sibling.

Has my husband and his sister been robbed of some normalcy because their younger sister is disabled? I suppose you could look at that way, but they would certainly never, ever characterize their life in those terms. She's part of the family--period. And you do what it takes to take care of family.