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Change Can Help the Healing Process

August 27, 2010

One Good Thing is the blog no one should have to write. It’s the poignant/hopeful/painful, powerfully written journal of a mom learning to live again in the wake of her precious little girl’s recent death from meningitis. This week, in Physical Spaces, Visceral Reactions, Mandy Hitchcock writes about the work she and her husband have been doing on their house, particularly about painting the bathroom where she last gave her daughter a bath to try to reduce her rising fever. Mandy wonders if transforming her house has something to do with a futile attempt to leave behind some of the pain and guilt she feels. This (with a little bit of editing) was my response to her:

Wow, I’m having an incredibly visceral reaction to this post. Right in the gut. On at least two different levels.

1) How easily your story could be mine — or any parent’s. I think back to a visit to my folks in Florida, when our baby “blissfully” slept away an afternoon at the beach. It wasn’t until we were ready to go that we realized that he was actually sick. I remember the guilt at not recognizing right away that he was ill and for just la-di-da enjoying my book and my comfy lounge chair while my son was beginning to burn up. And I remember all too well the series of unexplained 104/105-degree spikes we tried to bathe away over the next few nights. After 4 days — which included a trip to the ER and two trips an urgent care center, the illness finally revealed itself to be roseola, but doctors seemed clueless and we were scared.

I’m in tears as I write this and think about how it could have turned out so differently. And I am just so, so sorry it didn’t turn out differently for you.

2) I just returned from a weekend at my parents, where my husband and I now stay in my brother’s old room because it was the easiest place to put my parents’ old king-size bed for us to use. Other than the bed and the treadmill my dad uses, the room remains eerily the same as the day my brother died in a car accident in 1993. (Of course, that means it looks pretty much the way it did when we moved in there 1972, but that’s another story. My room doesn’t look any different, either.)

His stuff is still there … the thick glasses he wore when he took out his contacts, his knickknacks, the stuffed animals his girlfriends gave him. It’s not that I think my parent have purposely “kept” it this way. I suspect they just haven’t dealt with it. Haven’t felt compelled to deal with it. The same way they haven’t felt compelled to deal with his stuff in the bathroom he and shared before I moved out. (17-year-old shower soap — yuck!)

I can’t say for sure why, but my intuition says it’s healthy that you’re dealing with these spaces. Yes, they are painful, but you aren’t avoiding the pain. As with this powerful, insightful blog, you are finding creative ways to be present with this godawful, inexplicable thing that has happened to you and your precious little girl. Your intuition is telling you to make these changes. Go with it. It’s all part of your healing process.



Coach’s Query

What change could you make that would contribute to your healing process?

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One Comment
  1. Thanks, Michelle. This is making me feel much better about our new bathroom sink, and so many other things.

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