Saturday, October 29, 2016

When Parents Lose Hope.........

Recently in the media we heard about the tragic murder-suicide of a family with two children with autism.

Obviously, it's not okay to kill your children whether they are disabled or not.

But the story is interesting because it came as a shock, a surprise to those who knew the family. Why? Those parents were the 'good ones'. These were the parents who volunteered in the canteen and the classroom. They were the ones that attended school events, lived in a nice home, worked hard and appeared to be coping with the challenge of raising two children with special needs.

It's (generally) not your stereotypical dead beat parents who do this kind of thing. It's the parents who love their kids so much it hurts. It's the parents who have sacrificed for their special needs kids from day 1 because they so desperately want the best for them. It's the ones who've tried to stay positive and put on a brave face during therapy sessions and doctors appointments like they do every. single. week.

How do these things happen? 

The answer is simple  - parents lose hope.

Parents lose hope that the dreams they had for their child will ever be realised. They lose hope their child will live a meaningful life. They lose hope the behaviors will change. They lose hope that all they have sacrificed for their kids counts for something. They lose hope that tomorrow might be easier. Clearly, losing hope has devastating consequences.

Without hope - we die. Not literally but inside. 

Hope is what keeps us moving forward.

Hope is what helps us wade through the uncertainty of what the future holds to a place of rest where no matter what happens, "It's going to be okay".

One of the most challenging experiences I've ever had was working in the children's cancer ward. There were times when we believed in hope that a child would beat the odds - and they did and other times where I comforted parents while they held their dying child. It nearly broke me. Outside I did my job but inside I was struggling because I couldn't see the hope. 

I went to God desperate to understand and he showed me there is always hope but sometimes we need someone else to help us see. I thought there was no hope because the child had died but I learnt there was hope that one day the parents would experience joy again. There was hope that tomorrow would be a little easier than today and that the overwhelming grief wouldn't last forever.

As parents with children with special needs, we need hope like we need air. 

Without it, we die inside and it's hard to keep going. That's how these things happen.

Sometimes the darkness seems all consuming and we can't remember what the light looks like. That's when we need to reach out and ask someone to encourage, pray and remind us that no matter what happens - it's going to be okay. 

There's always hope. Keep going. xo

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