March 9, 2016

What to say to Friend whose Child Faces Surgery

What to say to friend whose child faces surgery

What to say to friend whose child faces surgery –  I wrote several months ago about my dear friend who found out her daughter would be born with a congenital heart defect. Going through (at the time) a frightening prenatal diagnosis of our own and then a subsequent open-heart surgery, I can relate to some of what my friend is feeling now and about to go through.

If you are struggling to find the right words to say to parent whose child is facing surgery or is about to start a tough medical journey with their child, I hope you see something in this letter that your loved one will take comfort in.

Dear Friend,

I want you to know that my heart hurts with yours.

I want you to know that I’m not here to say it will be okay- because there is nothing okay about seeing your sweet baby endure this kind of trial. But, I pray you find peace in the middle of these unthinkable circumstances.

I’m not going to say that God gives children with special medical needs to special parents—because I don’t believe that’s true. But I can’t imagine a more special couple than you and your husband to raise your sweet girl.

I’m not going to tell you any phrase that starts in, “At least it’s not…” Or “It could be worse,” because these chapters in her story, your story, are painful. Period. The path to healing can only begin when we recognize there is something to be healed.

I’m not going to say, “Let me know how I can help,” instead I will just do whatever it is I know you need help with.

I’m not going to say, “God only gives you what you can handle,” instead, I believe that God is the only way we are able to cope through the inconceivable events life sometimes brings.

I’m not going to tell you, “I know how you feel.” Even though you will sit in the same Cardiac Intensive Care Unit as I did, your family’s journey, your feelings, are uniquely yours.

Here is what I will tell you. What your daughter and your family is about to go through is not fair. At times it will be tear-stained and gut-wrenching.

But even in this unimaginable journey you are about to begin, there will be good, too.

Your daughter may just teach you more in her first year of life than you’ve learned in your first 30. Through this, I believe you will become more compassionate and understanding. If you let it, your world-view will become bigger. You will worry less and embrace life with more vigor. Through this, she will become stronger and so will you.

When you walk out of those hospital doors, when the smell of the ICU has finally left your clothes, this chapter, although closed, will never actually end.

The struggle you all are about to go through will infiltrate every page of your story.

Because if you let it, the pain you feel now, will one day make the colors around you seem brighter, it will make work seem less daunting and will undoubtedly expand the immense amount of love that is already in your hearts.



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