Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Tale of Two Women

I've felt guilty since about twenty seconds after I posted my last post. I do love being a mother but I will not is full of challenges.

On Sunday I was borrowing someones scriptures and went to read an assigned scripture when I came across the following marked scripture:

1 Peter 3:10

For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile.

It was almost like it was written JUST FOR ME. So I am trying harder to love life, see more good days, and speak in kindness.

The last few weeks I have been thinking a lot about an article a hometown friend wrote about the challenges of raising twin daughters (plus three other adorable girls). One of her sweet twins has CP and really has brought on a new aspect to parenting. I asked her if she would be okay with me "re-printing" this article on my blog for my readers to read. I know some of you already know who I am talking about but if you haven't had the chance to read the following please do.

I think it touched me so much because I was reminded that we are all given various challenges in this life but we each have a choice how these challenges are going to affect us.

Read on...

Friday, August 22, 2008

A Tale of Two Women

Some days, I feel like my life is consumed by cerebral palsy. I think about cp with all the special care and handling we provide for Sophia. I think about it when I see April walking. I think about it when Claire asks, "Will Sophia start Kindergarten a year or so after April?" It stares me in the face, it overrides what Sophia would be able to do if her brain were healthy, it impacts the entire family now and will in the future, and it doesn't go away.

Once, in college, I volunteered to help with "patterning" for a young boy in the local community. I knew only that it was difficult to move this boy's limbs into the patterns we were told he needed. His arms and legs were tight and seemed locked in certain positions. He appeared to be in some pain during these forced movements. It was only after Sophia's diagnosis and my subsequent research that I realized, looking back, that he had cerebral palsy.

Needing to talk with someone who had been through what was still unknown to me, I decide to contact his mother to talk with her about her experiences with raising him. I plan to ask her about resources in our community, and what she feels was useful for her son. I have heard that he is now attending college, and I plan to ask her how he is doing and hear of his success.


Months after my plan to contact this woman, I hear that she had just been diagnosed with terminal cancer. Not long thereafter, she passes away. I attend her funeral, having never had the opportunity to learn the things that I know she could have taught me. The funeral is beautiful. Setting aside some of their sadness, her husband and several children speak of their love for this wonderful woman. They share with us, the audience, intimate parts of her life. There is no doubt that this is a noble woman who had passed on to the next life, and that she has an incredible family.

What is missing in the funeral talks is any mention of cerebral palsy. Once, her daughter mentions that the mother has always told her son that he was not limited by his wheelchair. That is it. I don't know what I expected -- maybe repeated references to how much she had struggled to help her son, or how she had struggled with accepting her son's diagnosis. To me, it is eye-opening. She had obviously dealt with cp since her adult son's birth, but it must not have consumed her. It is not even noteworthy at her funeral.

That night, as I lay in bed and my mind circulates with these thoughts, I pick up our local newspaper to read before sleeping. A few pages in, my jaw literally drops, and I express verbal surprise at what I see. There is an article about a woman across the country who faces a trial for a crime. Her crime had been to enter the home of someone else with a loaded gun, and hold a man and his wife hostage until police intervened. This woman has a son with cp. He was born (at term) the same time that April and Sophia were due. She believes his cp had been caused by the doctor's malpractice at the birth of her son. She carried much anger with her, and she had postpartum depression, and it all culminated in her entering this doctor's home and holding him and his wife there at gunpoint. She had planned to kill herself, making the doctor wait the same amount of hours she had to wait for him to arrive for an emergency c-section to deliver her son.

The reason my jaw drops when I read this article is that she is an online acquaintance of mine. She and I are both members of a message group, and we e-mailed each other once or twice upon realizing our children's similar ages. I know the circumstances surrounding her son's birth were terrible, and I know that she was angry. I can understand her anger, and I remember thinking that she seemed to have more anger than she could bear. I can relate to the despair she felt concerning her son's diagnosis. I sincerely hope that the jury that hears her case is compassionate, and I am grateful that no one was physically hurt on that nightmarish day. I feel real pain for this woman and her family.

The day I attend a funeral and then read a random AP article in my local newspaper, I recognize a great contrast between these two women. Both have sons with cerebral palsy. One had overcome the obstacle of cp to the extent that it was not even mentioned at her funeral. I imagine she had many days of tears and despair when her son was young. She had the benefit of years to learn that cp did not define her son, and also did not define her. The second woman, her wound still fresh, had felt the pain so greatly that she had made decisions that will affect her and her family's life much more than the cp. That day, I realize that cerebral palsy should not consume my life. This is something necessary for me to work toward.


emily a. said...

Thanks for the reminder. love you!

kg said...

Wonderful words from you and A. It's always good to remember and try harder! you're an amazing mother!

Kimball & Marianne Larsen said...

what a powerful message. thanks for sharing and reminding us all.

Mama Nirvana said...

I was able to read this on A's blog, and was also really touched. Thanks for sharing it here.

Please don't feel guilty for saying that cleaning up poop sucks. Because it does and every person in the world would agree with you.


Amanda said...

Thank you for sharing. I have had these same feelings a lot in the last month. I would add a few things to your list though, like how noble does it feel to have your child scream all the way through dinner, or smash chocolate cake all over you, or hold them down while the nurse gives them 6 shots you heard me 6 shots!!

Andrea said...

Thanks for sharing this, especially the scripture at the beginning.

Mugs said...

Hi Sara. It's Camille. I didn't have time to read this big juicy post, but I skimmed thorugh your pics and saw your kids. I can't believe that my little buddy Alex is such a big kid now! Wow! Cute blog. Glad to see you are doing so well.

Robyn said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Meta said...

i just read your tofu comment on amy's recipe blog and i can't stop laughing! you are wonderful sara. i wish i lived closer to you - you sure would brighten my days with your humor and honesty!