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A response to the phrase ‘it could be worse’

By Kelly Wilton

Four words that many parents of children with disabilities get fed up of hearing. And with every right, too.

‘It could be worse.’

Who decides for us what is enough, what we need and what we should be grateful for?

Over the years, in order to get my son the help he needed, I’ve ‘only’ had to prove (repeating myself over and over) that my son lives with a rare condition that has seen him endure one of the rarest brain operations there is. 

We ‘only’ had to watch him suffer countless seizures over many years to finally come to the conclusion that we had no option but to hand him over to a surgeon to perform this surgery.

But yes, it could be worse.

We’ve ‘only’ had to separate our family over the years, splitting our time between hospital and home and forgoing many opportunities to bond as a family. We lived on high alert and still do, watching our son and evaluating his health at crucial times.

But yes, it could be worse.

As parents, we’ve watched our other children endure heartache and pain as they wonder whether their sibling will come back home and when their sibling will ‘get better’ and how long will mum and dad be away for this time.

We watch siblings not want to burden their mum and dad with worries, so they push their feelings down until they rise again.  We see children child start to develop their own anxiety issues because of this.  

But yes, it could be worse.

However…

…we are forever grateful that we can share our story with those who want to listen, and for those that aren’t interested, we start to move in different circles.

We hear and see people around us complain of seemingly trivial matters, not seeing the value in what they have.

Yes, it could be worse.

We see our children challenges bend and stretch our imaginations as we find ways to help them reach their full potential.  We find a joy in the simple things in life, things that may not seem flash and exciting but instead invite warmth and comfort.

We watch others trying to find comfort in material objects to make up for the lack of depth that they are truly seeking, plagued with feelings of self-doubt and full of tales of competition.

So yes, it could be worse.

We watch with wonder and delight as our children begin to grow and explore the world in their own unique and sometimes mysterious ways.

We feel that people who do not have this opportunity nor appreciate the gift that our children give to us are in fact the ones who are missing out.  We feel like the fortunate ones, the ones who are able to bear witness to this extraordinary gift.

So yes, I guess it could be worse.

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