Both of the boys have tested positive for the flu. Cue the hand sanitizer and lysol! I received the news this morning and my fears were actualized. I have fought with distressing medicine administration, forced fluids, and desperate attempts at meals.
I have cleaned up vomit, wiped noses, taken temperatures, and covered up little feet. I think I have gotten my steps in today from simply walking room to room as I play home nurse. The boys have reacted to the flu quite differently.
Ryder has been lethargic, but able to eat a little bit. Jaxon has whimpered and required extensive negotiation for meals. Ryder felt bad this morning, but Jaxon, despite his fever, was ready to attend school. Jaxon took his medicine like a champ, but Ryder had to have it hidden in something more palatable.
Jaxon was unphased by the swab being shoved up his nose at the doctor’s office, while Ryder was threatened to be held down if he wouldn’t cooperate. Both boys have the same ailment. They both are little carriers of Flu Strand A.
Everyone responds to pain differently. It is easy to judge someone’s reaction to discomfort when it is different from your own. I believe that everyone has different coping skills and likely feels things differently. Your grief, anger, or despair may not feel like mine.
I feel our society often reminds people to be grateful for what they have or hits them with the “at leasts”. Oh your hands hurt? Well, at least you have hands. Your son died? Well, at least you still have your other children. Your boss upset you? Well, at least you have a job. This strategy is well intended I believe, but can seem callous to a person who is hurting.
There is definitely great power in gratitude, but there is also great humanity in validating someone’s feelings. By acknowledging the discomfort of the boys, they are getting the care they need. How can we help others if we do not first understand their needs or feelings? How can they move on without allowing themselves time to process?
I can find gratitude in everything I face in life, but I can also find the uglier things like pain and grief. I can feel anxiety and heartache. Denying those things or only looking on the bright side can sometimes cause me to stuff things down only to have them resurface inappropriately in a future discomfort.
I have stuffed traumatic things so deep down that I have not even cried. A few weeks later I may spill my coffee and burst into tears. Had I allowed myself to process my emotions initially, that coffee would have only received the response of a paper towel. My gratitude makes the pain more tolerable, it doesn’t always take it away.
A grateful heart can also be a grieving heart. Society may encourage you to walk it off. Some folks may want you to keep it to yourself. Some Christians may believe that your grief somehow diminishes your faith. I can tell God that I love, trust, and honor Him, while weeping at His feet.
Pain can hit as suddenly as the flu. It can come without warning. One day you’re having a birthday party or riding your scooter and the next day you’re whimpering on the couch in the living room. It can be sudden and intense. Everyone responds to it differently, but everyone deserves the ability to actually feel it. Not sure what to say to your friend in pain? Tempted to tell them what they SHOULD feel? Try this: hug them and ask how you can help. A mama hug has medicinal qualities after all. ❤
Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.