Hello, God. Welcome to My Classroom

A Parent’s Pain

Posted in A Class Act by Linden Barrick on August 17, 2012
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

I have heard about people experiencing phantom pain when they lose a limb. As I sat in the waiting room two days ago while my baby girl (okay, she’s sixteen) had surgery, the pain I felt seemed more real than if they were cutting into me. I have all my limbs, Thank you, God, but feel as if I have experienced a certain kind of phantom pain – parent pain.

Yesterday, Autumn felt quite a bit better. Her face, swollen a little from having all four wisdom teeth removed, didn’t hurt much and her restlessness prompted her to make plans for a short period of time today.

Unfortunately when she woke up this morning, the swelling has stretched her cheeks even farther and the pain has increased. Tears flowed as she tried to accept the fact that she’s not ready to go anywhere. One more day of hanging on the couch, watching television or reading, seems to be the best choice.

Sometimes the best choice is hard to accept.

Seeing the tears this morning hurt almost as much as it did when I left her two days ago, her eyes imploring me to make it all better, when the nurses told me I had to wait in a different room during the procedure. My mommy instinct couldn’t reconcile with those instructions. How could I leave her? They didn’t know my baby like I do. How could they possibly take care of her?

I sat in the waiting room, fidgety and unsettled. I prayed. I commiserated with one mom and one dad who sat there, also waiting for each of their daughters’ procedures to be finished. I prayed some more.

Even though the surgery didn’t take long, less than an hour, it seemed endless. When the nurse finally called my name, I entered Autumn’s room to see her red-rimmed eyes overflowing with tears and confusion. Another nurse was trying to calm her down, but it was my voice she needed to hear. Eventually, with me sitting next to her wiping her tears and holding her hands, awareness returned to her eyes.

Although she hurt and felt disoriented, her gaze gripped my heart. I could see the trust in her eyes. Trust in me to take care of her. Faith that I would make it all better. A joy and a burden settled in my heart.  Emotionally, I was overwhelmed with her belief in me. Logically, I knew I couldn’t do what her eyes said I could. Only God, time, and a couple prescriptions were going to ease the pain and heal her wounds. All I could offer was support and comfort.

I realize parents go through much worse with their children every day. Critical illness, horrible injury, even death. I thank God I haven’t experienced anything of that magnitude with my kids. And God understands. He has certainly suffered through the pain of a child. He experienced the ultimate parent pain.


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