Saturday, January 29, 2011

Just One Day

A couple of days ago it occurred to me how much my illness is affecting my family, especially my 12 year-old daughter.  I have known from the beginning that the changes in our lives due to my illness have affected my family.  However, my daughters and my husband have dealt with it remarkably well.  Especially if you compare to how well I've dealt with it (not well).

My oldest daughter, Kylie, has been talking to the counselor at her school since she has been going there.  She has been talking to him a lot more this year than in the past because of my illness as well as the other problems resulting from it (i.e. finances, decreased activities, etc.).  A couple of months ago, I contacted the counselor and told him I wanted to talk to him.  I wanted to discuss with him what Kylie has been talking to him about as well as advice he may have for how to deal with this.  Since he has been a school counselor for over 20 years, he has a lot of experience with kids and their emotions.  I talked to him by myself and with Kylie in the room.  It went well.

A couple of weeks later, the counselor gave Kylie a book to read in order to help her better empathize with what I'm going through.  It is very difficult for a 12 year old to fully understand what a chronically ill person feels everyday.  Hell, it's difficult for most adults to fully understand.  The name of the book is "If I could be sick for you for Just One Day" by Kathy Cramer.  It is a short, picture book so I have copied it at the end of this post.

When I first read the book it brought me to tears.  Kylie said that she had read it with the school counselor.  However, she didn't discuss it with me at all.

Now, back to a couple of days ago.  I had been in bed all day due to the pain and weakness I discussed in the previous post after my weekend away.  That night, after my 4 year-old had gone to bed, Kylie came into my room crying.  I don't just mean a few tears.  She was sobbing.  She immediately laid down next to me and started crying on my shoulder.  For the first few minutes I couldn't even get her to calm down enough to tell me what was wrong.  When she finally took a breath long enough to answer me when I asked her what was wrong, she tossed the above mentioned book towards me and said "I just read this."  She cried and cried for about 20 minutes.  I couldn't get her to calm down.  All I could do was comfort her, tell I am sorry, and that everything will work out.

This is the first time she's done this.  She has talked to myself and my husband about it a lot, but I have never seen her break down like that.  The one year "anniversary" of me being sick has obviously gotten to her also.  When she was crying, she mentioned that it's been over a year, I'm supposed to be getting better but I seem to be getting worse.

It took everything I had in me to keep from crying with her.  I just hate that it's because of me that she was so upset.  I know I am not doing it on purpose and I can't change anything.  Unfortunately that doesn't make me feel any better.  I love my family so much and I can't stand that they have to deal with all of this.  It's one thing that I have to, but I wish it wasn't affecting them so much.

If I could be sick for you for
Just One Day
by Kathy Cramer

I wish I could be sick for you for just one day.
I would let you go outside and run and play!

I would swallow the pills that don't want to stay down.
You could stick your head out the window and ride all over town.

I would shake and chill the way you do.
You could go sail on a sailboat - be part of the crew!

I would feel the pain that you endure.
You could go out for a big dinner... order dessert, for sure.

I would dream the dreams that can be scary and dark.
You could fish on a lake and walk through the park.

I would do your wishing to feel better soon.
You could stay up late and sleep until noon.

I would look through the cards that were sent by friends.
You could eat popcorn and candy until a movie begins.

I would walk your path with heavy tired steps.
You could drink lemonade and sit out on the deck.

I would feel the faith that you hold in your heart.
You could walk through the market, smell the flowers on a cart.

I would eat the food that doesn't taste right.
You could ride a roller coaster and squeal with delight.

I would look out your window and wonder why.
You could visit all your friends just to say "Hi!"

I would hold your anger that comes and goes.
You could walk barefoot in new grass and wiggle your toes.

I would do your wondering of what is to be.
You could read a book under a big shady tree.

I would listen to the footsteps that come and go. 
You could sit by the fire or play in the snow.

I would lie in your bed for that day and night.
You could sit and watch a sunset, blazing and bright.

I wish I could be sick for you for just one day.
But since I can't... by your side I will stay.

This book also has beautiful illustrations by Steve Harmon.
You can find it, and other great books at Tristan Publishing

1 comment:

Bibliotekaren said...

Sounds like a powerful book. As I navigate the journey of chronic illness solo, sometimes I wish for folks around me as my isolation is profound at times. Then others times I glad it's just me. That I only have to deal with my reactions.

I'm glad you and your family have each other. I'm sorry for the roughness now.