Friday, August 22, 2008

What Makes Us Weaker ...

actually makes us stronger. Everything really needs to be day by day and step by step. I sit here tonight thinking about all of the change that has happened in my life in the past year ... and how this has been such an influence on me being a mother to a deaf baby.

My dad, at age of 55, passed away this past January of dementia. Doesn't make sense at such a young age does it?!? Tell me about it. He was the father who called if he saw a storm coming towards the city I lived in, to make sure I made it safely to whatever destination I was flying to, to tell me he loved me everytime I walked out the door ... even if it was just to run up to Walmart!

I took care of my dad for two years with this disease. I watched him deteriorate. I watched him become a person I didn't know. I watched him go from a strong, outgoing, fun loving person to a paranoid, weak, not to sure of who he was OR who I was. I watched my dad die. It was the hardest thing I've ever had to deal with, or so I thought at the time.

Three months later, Aiden was born and failed his newborn hearing screenings. This was just as devastating to me. How could this happen? After all I had just been through, after all I had just done for my father, how could God let my baby be deaf??? And I questioned and I questioned and I questioned. I didn't understand it. I felt like I had been through enough. I felt lost. I knew I helped my father as much as I could, but at the time, I had NO CLUE how to help my precious baby boy!

Now I understand. I needed Aiden as much as he needed me. I was taught such a powerful lesson with dealing with my father's death, that I needed to empower that lesson in raising Aiden. That lesson being - life is too short to live in fear, life is too short to not do something to make a difference, life is too short to stand down and not speak up for what you believe in. I learned to voice what I felt to protect my father and now Aiden, I learned to stick up for what I believe in, I learned to truly follow my heart and know IT will lead the way.

It's still very scary though. How will his peers treat him, how will he adapt to hearing, how will I be strong for him on the days he is so sad and I just want to take all his pain away. And there are so many choices to make for him, as his parent ... bilateral implants, simultaneous implants, communication approaches, do we teach him sign, making sure he gets the right therapy(ies). Such different choices than I had to make before, but just as difficult. These are times I would call my dad just to "talk through" my choices, and he would offer (give) his opinion (very strongly) and I would listen. And then he'd call back with another thought, and then another, and another (I love you dad). My dad always wanted to make sure I was okay ... and that his grand babies were okay. His grandkids were his life. By now, my dad would have every DVD on sign language, have signed up for courses, looked at anything to buy off of TV or in ads on hearing loss, anything to do with hearing loss or deafness, he'd have and be ready. When it came to his family, especially his grandkids, no one could stop him, they were his life.

I still wonder everyday if I made the right decisions for my dad and if I make the right decisions for Aiden. But I have to believe in what I've done and what I do. I miss my dad terribly ... I get teary eyed thinking about him many times throughout everyday. Yet I feel a tremendous peace about me that God has given me this special child for a reason. I'm not sure exactly what that reason is yet, but I know I have learned so much more from Aiden and that I will do everything in my power to help him be the person he is meant to be plus some!

8 comments:

Val said...

Oh, I've had my good 5 am cry.

Drew's Mom said...

Tears here, too.

You're doing a wonderful job. And you're right - this will make you stronger, and your marriage stronger. And your older children will learn compassion beyond the norm.

Karen Putz said...

I'm so sorry for the loss of your Dad at such a young age. :(

I have three deaf and hard of hearing kids and there are some days I question my choices. We make the best choices we can with the information we have. It's definitely a journey!

Kel said...

I'm so sorry for the loss of your Dad, and I agree that you are doing a wonderful job. Your family is lucky to have you.

Julie said...

You're makin' me cry!

Yes, we all share those feelings... wanting to take away the pain and fear, wanting to make not just a good choice, but the BEST choice, wanting our kids not to miss anything - especially not because WE missed it.

I feel overwhelmed sometimes, and then - when things go smoothly - I suspect it might be because I'm missing something I should be "getting". Arrgh!

We love and we love and we work.

Loudest Mom said...

Beautiful (although tear inducing) post....
My dad does the same thing, hugs to you!

Bill and Shelly said...

I feel the same way about my mom( she passed away 2 months after our son, Jared was born.) I just know she would be reading everything she could get her hands on about hearing loss and CI's.
You are doing an amazing job-pretty soon you will be sending Aiden to school and you will wonder where the time has gone. I am going through that feeling right now as I wait to put Allison on the bus for her 3rd day of K.

kkohler said...

I don't know you, but I know you are amazing! As I go through my trials and tribulations I have to remind myself that it isn't what God gives us, but how we handle it. Your precious little boy is so lucky to have a mom like you. I am sure he will be just like your dad!