This is a follow up to my post from last week, called ,The REAL Story!
Comments that I received from my post were encouraging and very appreciated. I was glad to be able to share words that spoke to peoples hearts and to open the door about something that many will not speak of. Why isn’t it spoken about when there are so many that suffer from eating disorders?
One word, Shame! In talking with a friend this past week, that word was brought up about how parents feel such shame when their children go through certain struggles. Eating disorders, alcoholism, drugs, cutting, and I am sure the list could be added to. These are things that many parents around the world endure. Instead of joining hands with other parents though, they bow their heads and quickly close the door before anyone sees in.
Shame is such a strong emotion and can hold such power over us! It is so sad how parents have to struggle with this emotion at a time when they need the most support. Support from others, instead of feeling like they need to hide the truth as they suffer in silence ; with heart wrenching pain!
I felt the shame when I was at my High School reunion. You do what you always do at reunions, you catch each other up about your families. At this time we were just in the beginning of realizing that our child was struggling with an eating disorder and no its not something we wanted to shout from the mountain top. Not something we wanted to talk about amidst our hearing of how Johnny is excelling in his gifted class and Sarah is a star in gymnastics. Did you know that Luke is already being eyed by coaches from this well known college, due to his football skills?
Don’t get me wrong, I did have a wonderful time at my class reunion. It was only when the subject of talking about our children came up that it was hard, for what do you say.
Imagine the shocking quiet that would have filled the room. How you could have heard a feather fall, if I would have shouted loudly how my child was getting a A+ in Depression and struggling with an eating disorder. No one would have known what to say and they would have felt uncomfortable, because questions would begin filling their mind. You know the unasked questions. The , “Wonder what is the cause?” questions. Is something bad going on in their home?, “What is their relationship with their kids like?,” “Why would a child do that??”
On the other hand, what about the other silent parents? My guess would be that we weren’t the only parents there that night that had hidden pain about our children. Think about how they would have felt if I would have opened up? That is a large reason of me writing these posts, I want to be there for them. Show them they aren’t alone in their struggles!
Now imagine if my child would have just been diagnosed with cancer before our HS reunion. If we had just found out that they had a terminal illness. What would the reaction be if I had shouted that out? Would people be bowing their heads not wanting to look me in the eye, pretending they didn’t hear. No, I believe it would be exact opposite! My husband and I would get looks of compassion. We would get hugs of sorrow and pats on the back and affirmations that we would be in peoples thoughts and prayers!
Yes, some people still might be uncomfortable with knowing , but not because of judging us, more from feeling so badly for us. More of not knowing what to do. I think that is a lot of reason people may shy away from hurting people. They don’t know what to do. The thing is they don’t have to DO anything. They only need to be there! To be there with compassion and grace and mercy for the hurting soul.
Compassion is a wonderful gift that a lot of people have and it is a gift that needs to be shown to the parents of children struggling with drugs and alcohol, depression, eating disorders, children that attempt suicide, ones that that are promiscuous, and again the list goes on. The list goes on of topics that fill parents with shame! They have shame amidst the strongest heart shattering pain that they have ever had in their lives! For every question that goes through your mind about what may have caused it, they have a dozen! For every finger you may point at them, they have already pointed all 10 fingers and their toes at themselves. These parents don’t need questions or accusations, they need love, they need compassion, they need the sympathetic ear.
You may not understand the “whys”, about a child struggling, but guess what? You don’t need to! All you need to do is be there for the overwhelmed parent. The parent that is trying their best to keep up with life’s demands, even as their hearts lay trampled on the floor and confusion and fear fill their minds.
I will be forever grateful to my family and friends for being there for me. They were there with their listening ears and shoulders to cry on. With their loving embrace and yes their laughter to make my heart smile! They accepted my tears and wept with me, but they knew the importance of laughter as well. As I have said many times, what I would do without the gift of laughter, I don’t know! But there were times I needed reminded of that gift.
In the beginning when my child first went to stay at the rehab my heart was so torn, that I was on the verge of tears every day. If I wasn’t crying, the lump was in my throat. It was there every time I walked past the empty bedroom, it was there when my oldest would come home from school alone. When they would walk out the door in the morning for school alone. There were reminders everywhere I looked of the absence of my precious child.
I thank God for the days that my family and friends helped me to swallow that lump by their compassion, love and laughter.
Please if you are a hurting parent reading this and feeling alone, let me know. Don’t continue to suffer in silence. The weight you have already is overwhelming enough. There are support groups around, but not always the easiest to find. You don’t have to be a hurting parent either, there could be other struggles you are dealing with and not sharing with anyone. Please speak up. Let someone be there for you! I hope you can feel my cyberspace (((HUGS))) for you!
If you know of someone struggling, if you suspect they are holding a lot of pain inside, reach out them!! Sometimes all it takes is for that person knowing you genuinely care. When they see that, when they feel that, they will open up. You can help be responsible for lightning someone’s heavy load, for reminding their heart to smile. What better purpose in life can there be?