Being sick is no fun. Whether it is a cold, or allergies, or a tummy bug, when sickness hits, you just want it to go away. And fast! But, sometimes, an illness is so serious that it threatens to change the whole landscape of your family. Having to navigate that challenge is full of stresses and unknowns and “what-ifs.”
That happened to me two years ago, and it rocked my entire world and changed my family forever.
After a period of extended stress, I got sick and just couldn’t get well. Due to a medical mistake and misdiagnosis, my illness spread quickly and became life-threatening. We never even saw it coming.
Our daughter, Bella, was 12 at the time. Our son, Noah, was 9. They are smart kids, and since I home school them, we spend a lot of time together. We knew we couldn’t hide it from them for long.
We turned to our faith first. I prayed harder than I’d ever prayed before. Having lost my parents when I was a child was very difficult for me, and I prayed for peace and healing no matter what happened. I did not want my children to suffer the loss of a parent they way I did, so I was determined to fight hard and try to get well.
We turned to our church family and friends for support. Nobody should have to walk through an illness alone. Reach out to loved ones for support and help. It will ease the burden, comfort you, and remind you that you are not fighting alone. Plus, beloved friends and family members want to help. Let them “hang out” with the kids and take their mind off things. Don’t be afraid to ask for help running errands or whatever you need.
When I got sick, the first “outward” sign of my illness was when my long hair started falling out in clumps. It was very unsettling. So, Rob, my sweet husband, and I, decided a trip to the salon was in order. He told the kids that Mommy deserved a fun trip to the salon, so they all took my to see my favorite stylist. She knew what was happening, but made it all sound positive in front of the kids. She gave me a dramatic pixie cut that wouldn’t make it so noticeable as my hair continued to fall out. It made things easier in the following months.
We also made the most of my “good” days. We laughed a lot and tried to keep things as normal as possible. Bella and Noah do well with a routine, so we did our best to make sure they had their normal routine. We also love playing games, so game night took on even more importance.
We also realized there would be negative emotions to get through, and we made it okay. We have Bella and Noah time to talk and ask questions and just cry and “let it out” when they needed to. As adults, we struggled with my illness, so it was especially important that we gave the kids an opportunity to deal with their emotions, too.
We also learned to just take things one day at a time. That is a great lesson for me to remember daily. I don’t know what each day will bring. But, I am determined to enjoy each day. I want to find the good. Every day I have with my loved ones is a gift. I want to do something positive with each day. That is something I want my children to do.
Against all odds, I got well. I will never take running errands for granted again. Before I got sick, I remember grumbling about errands. Now I rejoice at being healthy enough to be out and about. I am thrilled to still be here!
Illness is never fun for anyone. When a family member gets sick, it is stressful for everyone, especially the children. Just love on them, and make them feel comfortable enough to ask questions and share how they feel. Helping them deal with their emotions is very important, and is key to getting through it in a healthy way.
Leave a comment below to let us know how you handle a loved one who’s ill.