Right after Maelee had her surgery a couple of weeks ago everyone in the family got sick with colds to different degrees. Maelee’s symptoms of late have been a very persistent very challenging cough. I assume it’s part allergies, part healing from the surgery, and part pseudomonas (which they found in her results of the bronchcoscopy). She has difficulty controlling it because it’s one of those back of your throat itchy, swollen, non productive coughs that just stay and stay and OVER stay their fair share of a welcome.
One morning this week we were driving to school and I decided try to be helpful and fulfill my role as a mother and give her ideas of what to do to help her cough. I said something like, “you need to try and help yourself not to cough as much as possible like taking sips of water and blow your nose.” Then she turned to me and said, “Mom you sound just like the kids at school. They tell me to go away and not to sit by them because I’m coughing too much and that they don’t want me to sit by them. Well I’m really trying Mom but its hard.”
At that point several thoughts and emotions ran through my mind. First, I felt so ashamed that I had said anything to her in a way that made her think that her cough was something she could choose to start or stop. I had judged her, assumed really that she could control it. I wasn’t as empathetic and kind as I should have been as a person and especially, ESPECIALLY as a mother. My attempt at trying to help, just confirmed what others had said in attempt to hurt. She works so hard to keep herself healthy and is blessed enough to have “no cough” at her “baseline,” and when she does get one it’s absolutely not something she can control.
I asked for forgiveness and then helped her think of a plan to combat this cough. Now as she fulfills her role as a daughter, naturally we will have a difference of opinions on the “best” plan but I can do a better job at being an empathetic person and mother as I talk to her about her trial and help her be successful to overcome it instead of making assumptions as I did that morning in the car.
Many other things I’ve witnessed Maelee do while she’s been in the hospital and in recovery have made me marvel at in my opinion how difficult it is to be Maelee. One thing I cringe at every morning is how many pills she has to swallow before she can eat her breakfast. The reality of this part of her life hit me the hardest after she’d had surgery and finally got to eat. Here she is swollen and wounded from the procedure and finally its time to eat, but before she can, she has to swallow 5 enzymes, an antibiotic, and a Tylenol. It’s a heavy load to bear for her to know that yeah she could skip the pills but if she does she’ll get major stomach cramps and diarrhea. It’s a burden.
While reading a book (The Orphan Keeper, by Camron Wright) right after Maelee was in the hospital I read this quote, “Your own mountain is blocking so much light that all you can see is darkness…You are not alone…I’m not suggesting it makes the pain easier but it does perhaps, make walking a little less lonely.” Now of course this message was delivered friend to friend in an entirely different and non-related scenario to Maelee’s in the book but it was such a beautiful way of expressing what Heavenly Father has given to us in the gift of His son Jesus Christ and in the gift of families.
From head to toe I want to do everything I can as a mother to help Maelee’s mountain be less lonely of a walk, but if for some reason I can’t OR if I make a mistake in my efforts I want her to know that our Savior Jesus Christ knows how it feels. He knows what she feels. He loves her enough to have felt all of her pain and sadness and struggles. Even the ones she doesn’t ever tell her mother about. He knows and he will be there to walk with her through all of it.