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Letter from a Survivor

Dear Parent of a Sick Child,

Hello there. How are you? No, really … how are you? I’m sure you are tired, worried, overwhelmed, desperately seeking normalcy, and wondering when your child will get better. I hope my words bring you encouragement. 

When I was a sick child, I remember being cared for by adults. I remember the adults who surrounded my bedside whispering encouragement into my ears. I remember never waking up alone in my hospital room, never wondering if I would be taken care of, and never imagining that I was no loved.

Me memories are mostly like flashes from a movie screen. These moments are frozen in time. I knew I was in an immense amount of pain, but I don’t remember the pain. I don’t remember the struggle to survive. I don’t remember my body being ravaged by infection. I don’t remember these moments at all.

I do, however, remember the love I felt in the room. I remember the gentle rubbing of my arms, the softness of someone holding my hand, the brushing away of my hair from my eyes, and the kisses on my face. I remember these things.

I remember receiving cards, letters, balloons, flowers, stuffed animals, and just about anything else that would bring a smile to me. I remember waking up with my parents there.. all of the time. Even when I was in and out of consciousness, I remember them.

I also remember my parents never showing their fear, despite being filled with it. I remember how they showed great strength; even though their bodies wore the trappings of exhaustion. I remember their caring hands, their patience with my recovery, and their filling-in to meet my daily needs. I remember being told I was a ‘little trooper’, and that my will to live was stronger than any illness. I remember my mother giving me baths in hospital, and my dad holding my hand as often as he could.

Please, dear parent, please know that your presence is precious to your sick child. Your bravery is beautiful, and your courage is contagious. Don’t stop fighting for your child. Don’t stop asking questions about treatment options. Don’t stop whispering sweet words of hope into your child’s ears. These words will resonate deep down in your child.

You have found yourself to be a superhero of sorts. You feel vulnerable, weak and absolutely human. Yet, during those strong moments where your sick child is watching, you adorn yourself with that cape of strength that you have uncomfortably worn for a while now. You become Superman or Superwoman. You stay up all night watching the monitors next to your child. You make a list of questions for treatment options, expectations, and possibilities. That brave mask you wear that shows no sign of weakness or vulnerability is rarely taken off, especially around your sick child.

You are a warrior. You hold your child with an incomparable measure of strength as he or she gets one more treatment, one more I.V. that cannot seem to find a vein, and one more painful test.

You, parent of a sick child, are one of the toughest kind of parents. You are a survivor of a war waged on the one person you would give your life for. You did not ask for this. You did not expect this. You were barely able to stand when you received the news that broke your heart, but, you stood for your child.

Yes, you are a Superhero of sorts. You are a warrior. You wear the mask for bravery, the cape of strength, and the shield of hope. Dear Parent of a Sick Child, you are a warrior.

Because while you are busy being a non-glorified superhero, you step aside so that your child becomes the warrior, the fighter, and the one who receives the praises for being strong.

Dear Parent of a Sick Child, your kind of strength only comes around every so often. Most parents will (thankfully) never know the depths of exhaustion mixed with a sliver of hope that you have gone through.

Your child knows you are there. Your child sees your brave face. You child does not know that you disappear to the isolated corners of the hospital. Your child does not realise that your knees buckled at the devastating news. Your child also does not know that you bargain with God on his or her behalf.

Tell your child how much you love them. Tell your child that he or she is the bravest little one you have ever seen. Tell your child stories of healing. Tell your child that he or she is a superhero. Give your child the hope that you are clinging to. Pray for your child; pray over your child; and ask others to join in your prayers.

Your child knows you are there. He or she knows it, even if not awake. Don’t forget that. You are the most significant person in his or her life. You matter. Please, dear parent, please know how much you mean to your sick child.

Hang in there. You are in a situation that you never dreamed you would be in. you would give anything to trade positions with your baby, but you cannot. I know how hard this must be for you.

Dear Parent of a Sick Child, get some sleep. Ask for help. Take care of yourself. You are a superhero. You are a trooper. Your will is strong. Don’t forget these things.

Your child needs you.

Bless you, dear parent, bless you. Thank you for striving for the best care for your child. Thank you for holding his or her hand in the middle of many sleepless nights. Thank you for putting on the bravest face you can during this difficult time.

Dear Parent of a Sick Child, what you are doing matters. Your strength, your wisdom, your love, your hope, your courage, and your presence are the greatest gifts you can give your child. Don’t forget that, and don’t be discouraged.

Your child will remember your presence more than the pain.

Letter from a Survivor


Letter from a Survivor


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