I have been reflecting recently about just how much energy has gone into looking after a terrified teen whose health took a nose dive and whose life’s reality is very different to the plans she had for her future. Charlotte is now getting all the help she needs. She is under the care of some incredible doctors who take her seriously and who want to help her to get better. I am now able to take a back seat, offering a supportive role. I do not need to fight a daily battle with doctors who make assumptions based on her age instead of her symptoms. A couple of weeks ago I crashed. Not massively, but I suddenly realised that I was not needed as much as I had been, and I stopped. I did not need to be on constant high alert anymore. I did not need to dread the answer each morning when I asked Lillie how the night had been. I did not feel my heart sink every time I looked at Charlotte’s grey ill pallor. Because the nights were beginning to improve and Charlotte was beginning to take on a healthy glow.
Oh, I am fairly certain we are not out of the woods just yet, but I can see the sunshine through the trees, it’s dappled energy warming my tired bones and promising me hope for tomorrow. Two weeks ago I wept in my husband’s arms as the worries of the last three years dissipated. I was exhausted and tearful and desperate for normality to return. Not as one might expect from Covid lockdown, but normality from not worrying constantly about a loved one’s health, and about the will of that same loved one to continue with a life that seemed so full of pain and exhaustion.
That same day, full of tears and emotions I couldn’t quite explain, Charlotte kept telling me she had written a blog post. And that I needed to read it. Now Charlotte writes a lot. Blog posts, Tiktoks, books, letters….you name it, she writes it. But it is unusual for her to insist that I needed to read it. For a whole day, I felt too emotional to focus on anything, including her writing. Except she persevered, telling me I needed to read it. So snuggled up in Gary’s arms I read the words she had typed.
I have linked here to the post she wrote. It was in deed what I needed to hear.
I have never felt as impotent or as useless as I have parenting Charlotte through her illness. Both Gary and I have clung onto each other, desperate for an answer or for some direction. Neither of us realised that simply being there and taking her seriously was the one thing that stopped her mental health spiralling out of control. We did the one thing we could, and that was to love her and believe her, even when many others did not. It never felt enough to me. I just wanted to take away her suffering but I could not. But it was always enough for her. We did the one thing we could, and it turned out to be the one thing she needed.
I saw this on Facebook and sent it to her back in November. I’m sharing it here today because I believe so deeply in these words.
Charlotte is the woman she is today not in spite of her many illnesses but because of them. Lillie is the woman she is today because of her unwavering, selfless love she pours out to her twin sister.
Nothing happens that God can not turn around for good. Romans 8:28 states that ALL things happen for the good of those who love Him. We just need to have faith and love each other with everything within us.
Love, it turns out, is enough.