This past week as we have spent numerous days in the hospital, I have learned several little life lessons. To make sure I don’t forget them I really wanted to write down the things that I’ve learned.
1- Everyone has trials and pain
I know this one seems so obvious but as I have watched so many people here in pain, it has become so clear to me that everyone goes through so much. And most of it is not visible to the naked eye. It reminds me of the hymn Lord I Would Follow Thee which says “In the quiet heart is hidden, sorrow that the eye can’t see.” Oh how true this is. And how deep that pain goes.
As we sit in our hospital room, we have seen families get admitted. The looks of anxiety, fear and sorrow on their faces can be overwhelming at times. My heart just aches because I can now relate in a way that I never have before. I know just how deep that pain goes. It gives me greater empathy for what others may be experiencing.
2- The world is more kind than we realize
I felt so very alone when we came here. Then we have met countless doctors, nurses, social workers, staff and families of sick kids that have reached out to us and pulled us in. I have had several moms of kids with Biliary Atresia reach out to me and show me that I am not alone. They don’t even know me. But the love that they have showed has made a huge impact in my life.
I’ve also noticed small acts of kindness that go such a long way, from the waitress who gave us a free appetizer just because, to the people who have graciously donated to help us out financially, some who we haven’t seen or spoken to in years, to the nurses who stroke our baby’s head and talk to him instead of just taking care of his needs, to the smiles and nods of encouragement as you pass a fellow parent in the halls, to the surgeon who stops what he’s doing to put his hand on your shoulder and make sure you’re ok. It’s amazing how kind and caring the world is if we really pay attention to it.
3- We are a family
As I started to realize just how many others are going through similar things that we are, I started to feel like we were part of a new family. It dawned on me that our “families” can come in so many varieties and sizes. We all have our immediate family and our extended family but we are also part of bigger family units like our church family or school families. And it was made so clear to me that we have joined a very special family when I met with some of the liver doctors and their social worker and the first thing the social worker said to us was, “Welcome to the family!” As I’ve spoken with parents of liver kids, I felt so included. I felt like I had met my sisters.
4- It’s the small things that matter
Another thing that has been reinforced in my mind that I knew previously was that it’s the small things in our lives that really matter. It’s the smiles, the kisses and hugs, the kind words that matter. The big stressful stuff just doesn’t matter in the long run. It’s our relationships with others. It’s the love that we feel and show. It’s service. That’s what matters. That’s what helps us all get to where we need to be.
5- Celebrate the victories
This was a powerful testimony to me this week. Celebrate the victories and forget the failures. As we waited for simple things like bowel sounds in Beckett, I thought about how important it is for us to relish those victories, no matter how small they are. A victory is a victory, no matter how small. When Beckett pooped for the first time after his surgery, we were so thrilled. Yep, over poop. Because to us it meant the world. It meant that after surgery on his intestines and moving them around, they were waking up and working. So poop was an important victory for us. So we celebrated by making a “POOO” ghost to put on the window of our room.
We also had a fantastic victory this morning with Becks smiling for the first time since Monday. Oh how my heart melted. What a great victory. This whole process has helped me realize that I need to find the victories in my day to day life and celebrate them whether they are little, like making a warm breakfast for my kids or big, like Beckett surviving major surgery. I am determined to do a better job with finding those victories and forgetting all the things that I didn’t get done, the “failures”. Because in the end, who cares. Who cares that they laundry didn’t get done or the dishes are dirty. I choose to focus on those things that I do accomplish.
6- The Lord is in the details
Oh how I know this is so true. I know that my Father in Heaven is aware of me and my family and our struggles. He has shown us so many tender mercies this week and I will forever be so grateful for him helping to make our trials a little bit easier.
When we were here last week, a friend in our ward sent me some contact info for a friend of hers whose daughter had liver issues. This woman added me to a couple facebook groups and through that we actually found out that across the hall from us was another family whose daughter has Biliary Atresia and is here waiting for her to get a liver transplant. I spoke with her online briefly and then the next morning as I went out to get a snack off the cart, I saw her. I introduced myself and she gave me a huge hug. We have since spoken several times and she has been a source of great comfort to me. I’m not alone. There are others who know what we feel like, who know the pain of finding out about this awful disease and feeling like you were punched in the face.
At the end of the week, we found a news article about a family in Pleasant Grove whose daughter, Mona is almost four. She had the Kasai when she was a baby and now was in need of a transplant. Her mom was a match and because she didn’t need a full liver, her mom was able to donate to her. So amazing. It gave us hope. Well, as we were waiting for Beckett to get out of surgery, we happened to overhear a phone conversation and quickly figured out that this woman was the grandma of Mona. We were stunned. Their live organ liver transplant was happening at the exact moment that Beckett was having the Kasai. When she got off the phone, we apologized to her for eavesdropping and then told her we knew who she was and told her about Beckett. She was amazing! Such faith. Such strength. Oh how that woman will never understand how she helped me through the scariest moment of my life so far. Later that day she sent Mona’s dad out and he talked to us for awhile about everything. Tender mercy for sure.
I know that the Lord has been with us. He has placed people in our lives at the right time to help us through. To help us process. To help us heal. Without Him I don’t know how we would have survived. Oh how I need him. And my eyes have been opened to see just how involved he is.
Written by: Kimber