I came across this quote today and it instantly rang a chord. I've mentioned before that I'm part of a fab little group for parents of children with additional needs/disabilities. We have become a tight knit group of warriors in this dog eat dog world of SEND. For all of us this is a new experience and one that is taking us varying times to come to terms with. They are my comrades on this journey and I thank my lucky stars to call them friends.
One of our members though is struggling...in fact that word doesn't do it justice. She's sad, hurting and unable at this point to remedy it. We all feel the depth of her anguish and, in truth, we are all in pain for her. She has just received a diagnosis and instead of it opening doors, as she had hoped, they seem to be slamming in her face at every turn. Support doesn't seem readily available & now she is left in fear. I'm not using that word to be melodramatic - imagine not knowing how best to support your child, being bombarded by daily anxieties about what the future holds, knowing that your life has changed irrevocably and there is nothing you can do to change course.
Witnessing this has been like turning the clock back two years ago...I feel like I'm watching myself, desperately trying to tread water while gasping for breath. Although I can't know how she is feeling, I empathise. I recognise that sudden loss of control, the loss of carefree, the loss of who you used to be. You are reborn into a new way of thinking and existing. You're expected to learn quickly - every abbreviation, term, strategy sounds like a foreign language and you can often feel overwhelmed or on the back foot. The pain that she is in right now is palpable - it is almost radiating out of her every pore. We all remember those first brutal months after diagnosis & although we can encourage, reassure and advise that things will improve...we can't promise anything.
As I read that quote today, from a poet I adore for her painful yet beautiful lines, it made me realise that all these wonderful ladies that I've met consistently put an arm round one another - physically or virtually. We can help our friend try to keep her head above water by listening, caring & giving her our time. One day, she will be doing the same for others & these darker days will be locked away in her memories. I'm sure that she cannot imagine that brighter days are ahead for her but they are...the challenges, the despondent moments will still happen but her resolve will be greater.
Offering kindness to another is one of the most beautiful things you can do. Having a group of ladies who deliver it so unconditionally, when their own lives are complex, is a truly humbling thing. Knowing these women has altered the path my life has taken &, although we have all lost a part of who we used to be, we can carry one another through our sadder moments & cheer each other on through our better days. Right now we all want to keep our lovely friend afloat and offer her hope that all is not lost...she may not recognise who she is today but as the tide ebbs & flows, she will discover that she can not only keep her head above water but she can do so with a smile on her face.
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