When a family member is on a difficult path, it is the whole family that walks that journey not only with them, but walks that journey in their own unique way. What I mean is that even though there is one person experiencing the health, personal, or emotional struggle, it really is the whole family that feels the pain, grief, and frustration that this just isn’t how it’s supposed to be.
It’s not always easy to talk about the struggles Mazy experiences because of my heart failure. I so easily think that Mazy struggles because of ME. But after getting some counseling this past winter, I learned I have allowed my heart and mind to believe that my heart failure isn’t WHO I am – it’s a part of WHAT I am. It doesn’t define me. But I fully admit, it is a daily battle to not allow the belief that my heart disease is all I am and that I am the cause of Mazy’s struggles. I too easily make that a connection in my head. I have heaped an incredible amount of guilt on my shoulders and have shed many tears, as I try to find every way I can, to help her understand and work through the struggles and anxieties she has. And it has been overwhelming, heartbreaking, and I have felt helpless. Sometimes she can’t stand me and resents me in what feels like every way. Nothing can prepare ya for that as a mama. I know, kids can’t stand their parents all of the time. But I feel this is a different type of resentment. She has ups and downs, just like we do with all of this. Her emotions are just as confused as ours are. She feels the waves of heart failure just as much as Dan and I do.
Knowing that my heart failure is only getting worse, it has made me really take a step back and think, “How can I best love Mazy and provide what she needs, knowing that I’m not getting better, and she is struggling more and more?” It has forced me to admit that I need help and seek outside help. I get it. There are millions of kids who have parents who struggle. There are umpteen kids with parents with illnesses. But my desire as her mama, is to provide her with the best coping skills I can, to ensure she can walk this stage of life with confidence and assurance that we’ve got this and GOD’S got this.
I have been in conversation with an absolutely God-send, Vicki, from Colorado, whom I’ve mentioned in the past. She’s a retired teacher who worked in childhood development for 30 years and she has been such an answer to prayer. She reassures, cheers me on, and has given me the most tangible ways to relate to Mazy. Anytime I have a deep and puzzling question, she is right there, willing to answer with her professional knowledge. God put her in my life at just the right time and I couldn’t be more thankful for her! Not only that, but anytime I am in the hospital or going through a hard time physically, a random package for Mazy always seems to show up on our doorstep. Not that material goods will make us happy in the end, but when everything is so confusing to her, and she feels I’ve left her in the dust, a little surprise, a box to open, is something so incredibly special to her. In fact she’ll say, “Mommy, this is special to me.” It’s just another extension of love from the family of God! Thank you to those who have thought of Mazy in this way – it means more than words can express.
Also, Mazy loves to read books. One night I spent way too long looking for books that would help me connect our struggles and help me reach out to her little heart. Well, the book “The Invisible String” popped up. Honestly, I never heard of it, but I was able to order it through our library (because I’m cheap), and let me tell you, it’s just been another little way God has used something so little, to reach down to our little family!
As you could probably guess, it’s about an invisible string. The basis of the book is that these two kiddos are scared of a storm and how this invisible string can reach all the way to their mom’s heart, in a different room. Not only that, but it lists these far off places, like even heaven and how the string can reach even there. A quote that I love:
“Even though you can’t see it with your eyes, you can feel it with your heart and know that you are always connected to everyone you love.”
There are so many connections that can be made in the Christian life in this book! Is that not how our relationship with Christ is? It’s the cross that connects us to him. At times I literally feel like I can FEEL that connection – that invisible string, that connects me to Him, even though I can’t see it with my eyes. All because of His love for ME.
Anyways, after I finished reading the book, Mazy immediately opened it up and asked, “Again, Mommy?!” So we read through it again and after the last page, I asked Mazers if she understood what it meant? “Mommy, we are always connected!” That allowed me to talk about when Mommy goes back to the hospital someday (let’s be honest, it’ll happen again), that we will always be connected by our invisible string!
And we could put this idea into practice all too soon. I had to go to the doctor to get my blood clot re-checked and get on a medication, and right away when I said “doctor”, you could see the fear in her eyes, and the questions immediately came. Mommy, why do you have to go? Are you going to come home? When? Who’s going to stay with me? It allowed us to put this whole analogy into action. I looked at her and said, “Mazy, what connects us?” OUR STRING, MOMMY! And she was good to go. She touched her heart and “pulled” on that string as she stretched her hand out to me, and I did the same. Connected. Always.
Just like that. A simple invisible string. Now I don’t know if it’s always going to be that easy, but for that simple moment, I’ll take it.
If you have a child or know a child who struggles with leaving their parents for WHATEVER reason, this book is a must-have! It doesn’t take a medical situation or even death, for a child to miss their parents. This book is for any child who struggles being dropped off at nursery or school, or anywhere for that matter! It offers that simple analogy and visual to help a child know and feel that they are always connected with that special string of love!
(This is not a sponsored post…just sharing a great find!)
Here’s the link to the hardcover: https://amzn.to/2PtVkFB ($14.73)
Here’s the link to the softcover: https://amzn.to/2ZGTQaV (it’s only $5.71 for the paperback as of 8/29/19)