No, I’m not literally embracing the sick in my arms. I’m not intentionally mingling germs. I’m welcoming the opportunity to care for, which honestly is incredibly hard for me. I will be up front with that.
We have been blessed in this house with the gift of good heath. Overall, everyone has been hardy, and illnesses few and far between.
Yes, there have been seasons of strep throat and stomach bugs, but with 10 people living together, that’s to be expected. It could be far worse.
We haven’t had chronic physical illness or a horrific medical diagnosis. We haven’t dealt with hospitalization since the late 90’s when child #4 was hospitalized at 7 weeks for several days, and then I experienced a season of sickness a year later.
I’ve had uneventful, normal births.
Sometimes I qualify our physical health by saying that emotionally things have been messy. If you could see emotional illnesses as clearly as their physical counterparts, it would be a different story.
You don’t see emotional pain and sickness as clearly. The pain of a broken relationship trying to be mended and reset isn’t as easy to understand as the pain of a broken bone trying to heal after being broken and reset. And I am not intending to be crass when I say that the honesty of seeing a cancer patient lose hair while going through chemotherapy is easier to understand than a person losing all of their emotional hair while going through a life crisis while still appearing to function just fine.
It’s a grace that we have been healthy, because caring for the sick with empathy is an area of weakness for me. I am still figuring this out, but I have to coach myself to be kind to me when I am sick, let alone to others.
It happened to us over this break.
Starting with a call from our 10th grader’s school the week before break, and slowly weaving its way through various family members, sickness paid a visit over the holidays. Certain children would be down for the count, asleep in their room or on the couch or on my bed.
It wasn’t difficult to deal with until Daddy got sick.
My husband rarely gets sick. Again, this is a gift. I have friends this moment who are by their husband’s bedside in a hospital, or battling insurance companies for their husband’s treatment costs, or dealing with their husband’s mysterious illness that is debilitating but unexplained.
Since New Year’s Day my husband has been sick, and today it was confirmed to be the flu.
It has been hard for me to accept his weakness. To have him down for the count. With the kids, having someone off in bed asleep is one less person needing attention. With the life-partner, it’s one less teammate to tag!
There are so many ways that this has been grace, and that he has shown grace to me in my weak sick-caring skills. For the next 48 hours we are just hunkering down here which is what we need in this house.