Have you ever had to deal with a sudden illness in your immediate family?
In life, we never sit back and think about that happening to us. We always think positively about our own situation and think it only happens to other people.
Then one day, it happens. We find ourselves having to make really hard decisions. One of the first decisions as soon as we know there is going to be a lot of time with doctors and hospitals is whether we can be with them or are we forced to work? If we choose to be with them, how are we going to make ends meet? Every situation is different. You can only make the best decision you can make at that point in time and be willing to accept that decision no matter what transpires.
I had that day; I had that day that I had to choose. My son called to let me know he was going up to the hospital as he was not feeling well. That is when the whirl wind started. They found a tumor in his stomach and suddenly, I went from one of my biggest concerns being what had to be done at work that day to how to be able to balance between my son, his illness and ensuring that work deadlines were still met.
For all of us, we say there is no choice, family comes first. But honestly, that is not always an option. Some families find themselves in that no win situation where they have several children to take care of and one of the parents is forced to go to work as the bills do not stop coming when your loved one is sick.
For each of us, it must be a personal decision. You need to ensure that no matter what your loved knows you love them. If your loved one knows why you can’t be there then no matter what transpires, you can’t beat yourself up in the event that they pass.
It is critical though that you can live with whatever decision you make. I know in my situation; I chose to be there with my son when he got sick. I chose to go to every appointment and trip to the city we had to make. I also know how lucky I was to have an employer that allowed me that ability and no loss of pay so I could be there for him. I will be forever grateful to him for allowing me that time with my son.
Unfortunately, for a lot of people out there, employers are not that understanding. They say they want you to always put your family first but when that time comes, you are made to feel like you are doing something wrong. I have dealt with many families since Devin passed who have sick children and the common theme unfortunately is that their employer was understanding at first but that understanding slowly fades away as time drags on.
All of this sounds horrible, but it is a reality of life. It is a reality of every family out there that is dealing with a sick loved one. A person does not wake up one morning and go “Yay, I get to miss a pile of work because I get to play hooky and hang out at the hospital”. Each of these families are going through their own personal struggles between looking after their loved one, ensuring they can live and pay their bills and worst of all dealing with the emotional roller coaster you are instantly on when your loved one gets sick.
If you know someone like this, have patience with them, empathize and just listen. Each family forced into this situation is doing the best they can at that moment in time and unless you have been forced to have to make such decisions, you cannot understand all the emotions they are dealing with. Love them, offer them support and know that they are forever grateful to you for your assistance even if they do not tell you.