Last Updated on March 11, 2024

Control is an illusion. Health is rarely appreciated until it is gone. There is little hospitality involved in a hospital stay. And yesterday was one of the lowest days of my life, especially when my autistic daughter came to see me in the hospital. When it was time for her to leave, she grabbed my hand and pulled. Several machines held me prisoner in my hospital room. I had no power over my own position. Her little eyes beseeched me. “Come, Mama. Let’s go.”

I was trapped. Heat pushed from my chest into my tear ducts. Grief ripped my heart in half and spilled from my eyes. My baby didn’t understand what was happening. All she knew was that her mommy wasn’t coming home.

I cannot believe this is my life. But it is, and I must endure. The process of healing is not easy. In fact, the cure is usually the hardest part of the process. I’ve been angry. I’ve despaired. I’ve raged against a system that failed me. I’ve begged God to have mercy and get me home.

Yet I must remember my numerous prayers: “God, let me live. Let me live to be a mom.” I knew it would be a fight, just not how much.

But I have learned some ways to cope. I must laugh and help others around me laugh. I find humor in even the smallest of things. I have used my imagination — this is the trip to a hotel that many mothers crave where they get peace and quiet. Okay, that one I didn’t buy, but it helped me to see this hospital stay as a gift of sorts. I have been in a position to pray for the patients around me, something I would never have done before, as I wouldn’t have thought of them.

And I further appreciate the rare gift of life and family.

Even though I mourn that I cannot take a trip to the pool with the kids, jump on the trampoline, run through the sprinklers, jog beside a bike, or go down a slide, I must focus on what I can do. When I get home, I can build a sandcastle, play a game, sing a song, color a picture. I can pray for my children at all times. All are gifts for each moment of motherhood. I am so thankful for all the times I did take the kids to the pool and chase them in the yard. I hope to do those again, but I will treasure each moment, past and present, as a gift. Tomorrow is a mystery. I must live for today.

Endurance is about hope. When I get down, I focus on what is important. God has given us each other. People are made for eternity. All else is fluff. The Lord is the only true source of hope that I have found. My suffering will end one day, but I’ll be stronger for it. And He will never leave me.

Editor’s Note: Jennifer wrote this while she was still in the hospital. Thankfully, she is home now and doing much better. But I thought her thoughts here were too important not to share with you.

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