A mum’s story (part 2): Coping and Hoping

When people ask me “how do you cope?” my answer is generally: I don’t.

I hate the expression coping because it has a strong flavour of pain with an aftertaste of long-term suffering. Being told you’ll never know how long you have got left with your child is a tough nut to swallow. Being prepared for a life dedicated to medical cares throughout the day and night, how would anyone hold up knowing this? I’ve lived the “nightmare” with my son in hospital, seen people come and go. Some go home, some go to heaven and you never know which one of us may be hit next. How do you cope? The answer is relatively simple and plain: You take it one day at a time.

Clapham family 30.01.13

When I went swimming or sang songs loudly at the bus stop such as “in a very unusual way” as known through Barbara Streisand sobbing my way through the emotional bits of “you don’t know what it’s like to be me looking at you”. Is that coping? I think it’s just me somehow expressing some pain and self-pity. I don’t say self-pity in a judgemental way. I think it’s ok to pity myself a bit. I’m only human and I don’t deserve any of this- just like nobody deserves this.

My point of view centred around what IS possible. What IS actually happening. What have we got today. I found that it’s the least painful way. So you could argue I am coping by tapping into my wisdom. I’m coping by looking at what I have rather than what I don’t. I’m coping by surrounding myself with nurturing friends, family. I am coping by reflecting and writing about my experiences. But in my world, that’s not coping. That’s growing – that’s a good thing we want to do anyway even in good times. Turns out hard times give you a head start in personal growth as they really put you in front of your options: this way leads to absolute misery- this way to deeper connection and understanding. You choose.

guest blogger post Evelyne Brink - Book Cover

I don’t believe in long-term suffering even though I know what emotional and physical pain looks like. Suffering is the mental attachment to that pain. I refuse to stay there. I do believe in hope. Funny to say that because hope in itself is a belief that something better is possible. Hope is really healthy because it lifts our spirits out of inner darkness. Hope is the idea of something that you might not see yourself yet it is coming your way. Or is that faith? Who cares. Hope is good and it’s a great way to overcome coping.

PS: my son is living at home, 3 years old and thriving whilst living on artificial nutrition. His miraculous journey and ours and what we learned about life is in my new book : It takes Guts. A story of Love, hope and a missing bowel.

Read my first article here

It takes guts – Life will never be the same

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