Posted in after the diagnosis, coping with chronic illness, coping with life threatening illness, Emotional Health, living with chronic illness, Living with Illness

Out of the Mouths of Babes

How is it that children have so much wisdom and yet we often discount their insight?  Does it really takes years of experience to come up with conclusions that probably seem simple to the child and yet we as adult painstakingly need to churn the ideas before reaching the same conclusion?  I had one of those A-Ha moments this past week while visiting my family.  This is a moment of true confessions.

My niece was hospitalized this past week for an eating disorder.  At the age of 13 she is perilously thin and definitely in need of professional help.  I visited with her on Friday evening and she seems comfortable in her surroundings.  She may not physically be comfortable following the placement of the feeding tube, but she’s coping.  I went to the hospital with her mom and three siblings.

When it came time for us to visit she had been in the hospital a week.  Her siblings were anxious about seeing their sister in distress, but we had all been discussing her developments throughout the week.  While driving my 10 year old nephew blurted out clear as day and without reservation, “I never thought we’d be one of those families”.  It took me by surprise.  He elaborated by saying, “you hear about bad things that happen to other families and you just don’t think it will ever happen to you”.  (Amazing insight for a 10 year old)

I got to thinking a lot about his statement as the evening progressed.  The truth is that no one ever believes they will be impacted by illness, addiction, or injury.  We want or need to believe that we were granted immunity at birth or we’d probably live our lives in constant fear; waiting for the other shoe to drop.  Do we create a false sense of security or do we simply play the odds betting that we won’t wind up being the body captured by the bad things that stalk humans around every corner?

On my way home I sat next to a family from New York on their way to Vail for a family vacation.  Just as we were landing the mom started talking about how life is a gift that must be acknowledged every day.  The days when things are going well can’t be overlooked because there’s no guarantee that tomorrow will be as pristine as today.  When facing a chronic or life-threatening illness developing a soul sense will be one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself.  Providing a haven for your mind, body and spirit to meet, interact and dialogue will provide you with a sense of peace that will enhance healing.

I don’t know why my niece is struggling with an eating disorder.  I hope that she will come to understand her relationship with her body and if she chooses to share that with the rest of us then I’d be honored to bear witness to her life.  For now, we are one of those families and all I can do today is hold her in my thoughts, pray for her to create a new normal and begin living this precious life she’s been given.  There isn’t anything I wouldn’t do for her that would help her heal.  I know she won’t be able to read this, but I’m hoping that energetically she receives my love and hope for her journey to wellness.


I've lived my life in service to others. I'm focused on mental health and how it impacts our relationships, culture, and society. Through creative expression and narrative I believe we can impact change.

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