When your young child is diagnosed with a disability or a severe learning disorder, or both, you grieve. It is an exquisitely painful grief. The heart is wrenched and torn in directions you didn't know were possible. You rage, and you bargain, and you at once curse the gods you deny exist while begging the same for impossible deals. There are no atheists in pediatricians’ offices. You may negotiate for your little one’s normalcy in exchange, for instance, ten years off the end of your life span, maybe twenty, or the failure of the left kidney. You would give up your eyesight in a heartbeat if it would help them, or even your life. In your irrational, unhinged and ungovernable agony, these do indeed seem like the kinds of cruelly irrelevant and useless things human-invented deities would gleefully take in exchange for the good of The Child. However, in time you realize that you are not grieving for The Child, you are grieving for yourself, and specifically, what your expectations of what you imagined your life and The Child’s life was going to be. They were going to attend UBC of course! They would major in biology, or better yet… chemistry? Maybe computer science. No. The Child will never even speak. You will never even hear them say “I love you, Daddy.” You go on though, and you make it through every day, often hour by hour or even minute to minute, because you have no choice, and because it is what you do. And every tick of the second hand is another victory chalked up upon the wall your formerly selfish expectations built between who you were then and who you are now. You just love them. You love The Child with every last elementary particle in your battered, broken, but ever-raging heart, and in the end, you wouldn’t change anything, ever, for every left kidney in the world.

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