Most parents will never watch their child die. It’s something I can’t imagine and the reason I’ve been touched and transfixed by the journey of one family who is sharing their experience via Facebook.
Their 10-year-old son, Mitchell, is home from life-saving efforts at the hospital, spending his final days on this earth with his family. He is in heart failure after battling with Duchene Muscular Dystrophy since he was 3.
On the family’s facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/mitchellsjourney/), Mitchell’s parents chronicle their son’s journey, as well as their own low points and epiphanies as parents of a child with a death sentence. It’s heartbreaking but also eye opening.
“I hope when the time comes he doesn’t have to suffer. I asked God if suffering is required that I would gladly accept it to spare him any pain. I hope and pray that when it happens it happens quickly for him,” Mitchell’s father writes this week.
We have been dealing with a minor health issue with one of our children lately. It in no way compares with what this little boy’s family is going through, but it has made me realize how hard it is to watch your children suffer. I hurt when she hurts, and I would so much rather be the one in pain.
But I can’t. And this sweet father can’t take the place of his son. It’s a journey he must take — but not alone. He has wonderful parents to help him on his way.
I talk a lot about the various aspects of motherhood and parenthood on this blog — the good, the bad and the ridiculous. I define and redefine what my role is as a mother.
But while reading the story of Mitchell and his parents, my answer is pretty simple: Mothers and fathers have spirits in their care and their job is to love them, teach them and eventually guide them back to their true home.
Some of us get more time to do this than others, but maybe that makes the job even more important and precious.
Mitchell’s father writes, “In many ways raising our children is a bit like taking helium balloons to a park to release into the vast blue sky. As with any balloon we release, their journey and destination are unknown and each so very different and we do our best to prepare them for their own journey . . . and while we haven’t let go of the string, it is slipping away ever so slowly by the winds of change.”
Have you watched a child suffer? How did you find or give comfort in those times?