Monday, March 2, 2015

The advocate

My friend has MS. She has been bedridden for most of her adult life. At seventy-five she can only lift her head a little and move a couple of fingers. She is my hero. A woman with a positive attitude and sense of humor. She never talks of her illness or feels sorry for herself. Her concern is always for others.

This week she had a heart attack complicated by pneumonia and massive bleeding from an ulcer that erupted when she was on the blood thinner. We thought we lost her twice. Her daughters are dear to me. We stood by her bed rubbing her arms and legs, holding her close and warming her with our love. The pneumonia is gone. Her heart is getting stronger. The blood thinner will be added again in a couple of days, and we pray she will not hemorrhage as before.

Throughout this process, I discovered something that bothered me so much that I need to talk about it. It has to do with the way we talk over the heads of those who are ill and those we care for. The way we talk to our adult friends and family over the heads of the children not really hearing what they say. I have always hated the kids' table. I was raised sitting with the adults and am ever so thankful that I was. I learned to talk to all ages and to listen. I knew what was important to my family and truly felt part of it. Respect. It doesn't have an age limit.

We all want to be heard. We all want a say as to our futures. We all want to be recognized and respected. Too often we talk around the older family members in the room. Those wonderful people who did the best they could to raise us.  We all want to be heard and seen. The attention we give others will indeed make a difference in the way others react to us.

The doctors and daughters talked about Tari's upcoming procedure. Her eyes were closed and her forehead wrinkled. The doctor asked if the girls had any questions. They asked their questions. I turned to Tari and asked if she had any questions. And, she did. We all need an advocate. When my father was dying, I was his advocate. When a grandchild is trying to be understood, I am that child's advocate. I will listen and do my best to serve them.

I know this isn't my usual column, but this is dedicated to my friend who is fighting valiantly for a longer time to spend with her family and friends. It is dedicated to the child who has no words to explain how he or she feels. It is dedicated to all of us who have a chance to be an advocate for those who cannot speak for themselves.

1 comment:

Axiesdad said...

A beautiful message, and one that I, and probably most people, need to hear occasionally. I'm sorry for your friend's hardship and for the pain it is causing you.