Sunday, June 17, 2007

Sharing a Wonderful Essay.....

Written by Michele Westmaas ~ Who is a mom, a wife, and an advocate for people with disabilities.

To outsiders, the lives of children with disabilities can look very bleak
for the children and their families. People wonder how we can cope with
such dreary circumstances. Frankly, there are days when we wonder how we
will cope.

Recently, a friend came upon such a day. She's known since birth that her
nearly 2-year-old daughter is profoundly deaf. But the other day, final MRI
results revealed that she has no auditory nerves -- crushing any hopes of a
cochlear implant or other kind of hearing assistance. My friend felt
sideswiped by grief as she suddenly realized how tightly she'd been holding
on to the hope of some intervention to bring her daughter sound.

Thus began a profound conversation about hope and grief, expectations and
trust. I used to think that hope would get us through tough times. But now
I think hope may be a dangerous place to hang your hat.

Consider my friend's daughter. Her hearing is the same as it's always been.
The only thing that changed is her parents' awareness of what that is. Each
time we get bad news about our children's condition, nothing has really
changed - just our knowledge of it. Our knowing or not knowing usually will
not stop what is to be. The grief is not about a new condition or
situation; it is about our lost hopes.

When hopes are really expectations of how things should and will be, we are
setting ourselves up for grief when those expectations are not met. We have
no control over how things will be. The future will unfold as it is meant
to - regardless of our "shoulds", expectations, and hopes.

So what do we do with our hope? We use hope as a compass to direct our path
and give substance to our vision. But we temper precarious hope with
gratitude and trust. Trust that whatever comes will be just as it must be.
Trust that we will endure any trial that comes our way. Trust that for
everything that appears bad, there is goodness on the underside. Gratitude
for that good -- for the new understandings and insights that can be found
under every obstacle and tragedy in our path. Gratitude for the wonderful
gift that is our child.

When we find ourselves weary and stooped under the weight of our worries,
when our instinct is to hold tightly to hope with eyes clenched shut and a
white-knuckled grip, our despair can be lifted with a combination of trust
and gratitude. Open your eyes, soften your grip, trust, allow, and be
thankful for what is.

Contact Michele by email at


I thought this was such a wonderful piece, and exactly how I view our life with Emma Sage.......With ~ open eyes, soft and knowing she is exactly who she is supposed to be and what a marvelous gift that is!

I hope you enjoyed this essay as much as I did.


Debra said...

Wonderful essay and so true. I remember that feeling when Hope was born and we got that final diagnosis that she did indeed have Down syndrome. I was so glad that although we knew she did, we held on ever so softly to the hope that she didn't and when we got that answer, we knew that she had not changed, she was still Hope and we just had to look at a different road than the other eleven. Not a bad road, just different.

Hugs and thanks for sharing and do you mind if I link this to my blog. I want others to enjoy.

Debra and Hope

Tara Marie said...

Debra.....I know that feeling, as I too held on to it when I was pregnant....I knew in my heart of hearts, Emma Sage would have Down syndrome, and we had the soft markers to tip the scales that way, but because I opted not to have an amnio, I still held onto the chance that she would not have Down syndrome [as I do not think any Mother wishes their child be born with a disability] but I was ready to accept and embrace the fact if she indeed did.

And here we are, embracing ~ celebrating ~ and learning to look at life a whole new way.....and it is something to be thankful for [in my eyes].

I do not think that Michele the author would mind. I e-mailed her earlier today to ask permission and she was honored to have it posted.

Give that sweet Hope a big hug and kiss from Emma Sage and I.

and Happy Father's Day to your Hubby!

mum2brady said...

Wonderful article - thanks for sharing!!!