Friday, October 31, 2008
A Badge of Honor
This is a Parent Badge.Â You only get one of these if you have a child sick enough to be sent to Children's Hospital in Seattle.Â This is a badge of honor.Â When you walk the halls, and you see another person wearing this badge, you know that this person is not here because they want to be here.Â They are there because they have to be here to be by their child's side through a very difficult and trying time.
Parents of these children are hurting and lonely.Â They are praying for their children to make it.Â The children they are praying for are hurting and sick.Â Some have lost their hair, others have lost their hand or foot, others still look "normal" on the outside, but are very sick on the inside.Â Still others will never be "normal" again, or ever were "normal".Â But each of these children have been and are blessings to their parents and blessed to have parents who stick by their side through thick and thin.
Parents who wear this badge and stick it out smile at each other in the halls, and say nice things to eachother, because "they know" - it's like the wave that motocycle riders give each other.Â We have been initiated into a fraternaty we didn't want to belong to, but are now a member of, and each of us knows that the others are here for the same reason - our love of our children.
We cheer when we see them going home - worn out parents carrying lots of luggage and wearing a big smile.
We feel for those who get off on the 4th floor -because we've been there (the ICU floor) and know that getting off on that floor means your child is really sick.Â It also means sleeping in "the cave" and not being able to be with your child and your family at the same time.Â It means loneliness and constant care.Â It means watching your child endure countless painful procedures.Â It means forgetting everything else in the world and concentrating on living moment by moment.
I'm so glad to be home, but I know there's still hundreds of parents still having to wear that badge of honor everyday - some have been wearing it for years, and some just started today.Â I pray that each of them will soon enjoy the thrill of taking their child home with them once again and find the challenge of creating a new normal for their family!
I wanted to write this before we left the hospital - was creating it in my head everytime I walked the halls - but couldn't find the time, so here it is now.Â I hope you can step into our shoes for today and say a prayer for all the parents, children, and care givers today at Children's Hospital.