One of the greatest difficulties we face in raising a family with multiple special needs is that those needs and the family needs those needs create can become so consuming that our family becomes something of a microcosm unto itself. Outside of this microcosm is a community greater than ourselves, including family, friends, acquaintances, and local/state/national/international community. All too often it seems this greater community provides inputs for the microcosm while getting little in return.
My family has lately experienced many, many relatively minor, non-life-threatening hardships. Though they are relatively small in nature, there have been so many it has consumed much of our attention, energy, and resources. Outside of this, we’ve had friends and family members who are experiencing much bigger hardships. Outside of this, our community has been wrenched by numerous tragedies. In some ways, unless those hardships and tragedies are thrust right in front of me, it seems all this happens at the periphery.
One person in particular comes to mind. A member of our family has been enduring treatments for cancer. There’s the pain of the cancer, the pain of the treatments, the many inconveniences, hardships, and emotions that are involved. When he is with us, as there have been times when he was, we show our love, our concern, and our support.
But then the avalanche of needs comes crashing down and it’s all I can do to remember and be mindful of what I’m supposed to do at the moment. Partly, that’s the fog clouding my mind. Partly, that’s the seemingly unending barrage of needs that must be met. Whatever the cause, whatever the reason, however much it needed to be so at the time, I look back with regret that we were not a greater source of support and love as he struggled through this treatment process. Now, that treatment process has ended.
We were able to be there, showing our love, our concern, and our support. We were able to take a break from our own concerns and the overwhelming needs of our family. We were able to be there and to be there for him, not as ourselves so much as a part of the greater world beyond our microcosm. It was good to be there!
Now, we must simply hope and pray that the treatment was a success and try not to get too caught up in our microcosm in the process.