It’s no secret that I have had a rough year. My sister died in February, our beloved dog Lucy died in May (both expected) and my mother died unexpectedly in July. On top of that I’ve had some personal turmoil (and a recent broken wrist just to make life interesting) that have made 2014 the year to forget, and but good.
Through all of this I’ve had the steadfast love of friends and family. They have completely surrounded me with love and light like a warm blanket and it hasn’t gone unnoticed. My friends though? They’re used to helping me through trauma.
Since our son and daughter were born and diagnosed with kidney/liver disease, eye conditions and mental illness, we’ve seen more love and support than any one family should receive. We’ve been fed hundreds of times, prayed for, friends and family have been on call at all hours to help us when we were a body, care or hand short and they’ve been the people who’ve listened. Best of all they’ve been interested in where we are at any given time with disease treatment or therapies. They’ve called to check on us, and been there, willing to do anything (Flowers in our garden? Yes.).
Not all friends came along on the journey with us through special needs. We had to drop some that were less than understanding and we’ve had to say goodbye to some that couldn’t handle our life. When something drastic happens in your life is when you find out your real, show-up-anytime people. I’m so grateful for the people in my life that show up time after time, and they do it gladly. A lot of time with a side of joy.
I’ve had a lot of loss this year, more than I care to mention again. A friend who lost her mother about a month before mine said she was in a “bubble of grief” which I understood immediately. My grief hasn’t lifted any from January to today. In fact, today in particular, my heart is wrapped in a bubble of grief especially. I can tell you one thing, if not for the people that take my texts and answer them quickly, private messages and my calls with random tears and deep, wounded cries, I am sure I wouldn’t be standing right now. Thank you thank you. Words cannot express my gratitude for your love and comfort of me in my Year of Grief.
For you… thanks for standing by me through it all. Thanks for never letting go of me to flounder on my own.
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Julia Roberts is founder of Support for Special Needs and has been a regular contributor since its inception in May 2010. A mom to two kids with special needs, she didn't want other parents to feel what is the often isolating world of raising a child (or two!) with disabilities. Her kids had kidney transplants at the age of eight and will need liver transplants in the future as a result of ARPKD/CHF. They both have vision disorders and learning disabilities.