Dana lives in Seattle, and Tracie lives in Germany. We are businesswomen, writers and humorists. We write about life, dating, and today's modern women.
One day last week I was at a meeting held by the Parents Initiative for Children with Heart Disease of Cologne. I joined this group because my son was born with a very rare form of heart disease and I want to lend support and encouragement to parents and children affected by this illness – something that wasn’t offered to me when my son was born. Support at that time in this manner wasn’t available.
I know first hand the very real raw anguish of these parents. As far as my son is concerned, it is estimated that one in one hundred thousand children are born with his type of heart defect and even this number is much too high. Of course I had (and have) the support and encouragement from my family, they have ALWAYS been in my Amen corner, but when I began this journey with my son, they lived a continent away and could not lift me up when I time and again slipped to my nadir on the floor of a hospital ward.
The truth can sting our reality and when our children are born with a severe malady, there is no escaping. No great Houdini. We are left with no choice but to bite the bullet and this is always overwhelming if not flat-out devastating. So yes, I am honored and thankful that I can lend my support to these families in any way I can.
Tjark and Beate are the parents of Peter, aged three and Edward who is eight. Edward is a healthy little boy. His brother Peter has a heart disease which was detected during Beate’s pregnancy. His first surgery took place when he reached his first birthday. Aside from his ailment, he was a typical one year old, an independent little person.
Within twelve months Peter had a pacemaker implanted inside the walls of his tiny chest, endured eight surgeries due to infections and other problems surrounding the operated area and thirteen full anesthesias. A mishap occurred during one of the anesthesias with the result being that little Peter is no longer an independent little person: he cannot walk and he suffers from neurological damage. He swallows two handfuls of pills everyday, some of which make him listless and lethargic. Tjark and Beate wade through all the medications trying to determine the right concoction which will be the best for their son. The doctors don’t seem to have the exact answer.
This past Sunday I met this little man. After a time, he began to get antsy in his stroller. Tjark said to him, “Do you want Mama?” Peter replied with one clap of his hand and Tjark set the wheels of the stroller in motion towards Beate.
When I initially met Tjark at the Parents Initiative meeting last week and he began telling me about Peter, I literally, almost physically, could feel his frustration, his fear, his downright disbelief at it all. It was as if by so passionately telling me his story, I could make the monster go away. I know. I have been there. And as I sat there listening to him, I asked myself, how could I possibly find the words to console this young father?
When he came up for air, I reached across the table and cupped my hand over his. I looked him in the eye. “I understand you, I really, really do.” I said. “Somehow, you must drum up the faith that your son will be fine. Instil it within him to believe it, however you can. You have no choice. He is depending on you.” Tjark smiled at me and nodded. But I felt that I’d come up short, despite the fact that I know that sometimes there are no words.
But there is prayer. I told Tjark that my sister Dana and I write a blog that reaches far and wide and that I would ask for our readers to pray for his family, pray that he and Beate maintain their strength, and pray particularly for their son Peter. And if that is the only way I can console them for now, then I embrace the opportunity, for I am convinced that if they can’t move their mountain of misfortune, that all of our prayers will surely help them climb it.
Faith: Confidence in what we hope for, and assurance of what we do not see.