Letter From Randy: Chronic Illness and Fatherhood

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Dear son,

You were born on a winter’s day; bitter cold, but sun shining brightly.  You were delivered premature, but full of life.  My heart instantly grew the moment I saw you.  It was a Sunday; quiet, peaceful, yet your cries were heard throughout the hospital, claiming to be the first born of the new year.  You were not my first or last, but you grew to be my calming legacy. Your first years were fraught with colicky pain, up most nights – mom and dad taking turns, but mostly mom.  Yet in the quiet moments you drew close and burrowed your warm body into ours.  Nurtured with love you grew.  Your big brothers picked on you, but you remained sweet.  Everyone could see your countenance – it radiated pureness and gentleness.  Your speech reflected your spirit – never loud or obnoxious, but a cadence all its own.  We strained to hear your soft whispery voice, but gladly did so because of its tender content.  Your eyes hinted at mischievous deeds, but your grin removed all guilt.  Your blonde hair and fair skin made you a target of comment, but lightly sprinkled freckles dotting your nose and upper cheeks melted even the harshest critic.

We could see in you from the earliest days, your gentle charm, natural glow and fun personality.  You brought laughter, love and joy into our home.  As you grew, you were tempered by teasing brothers.  You excelled at friendships and social events.  You were carefree and frankly a bit too uninhibited.  You hid any self-doubt well.  We saw you becoming more confident in who you were and how to act.  You craved love and acceptance.  You reveled in groups.  You stood out as a leader of packs.  People were drawn to you.  Ever gentle not to offend, ever considerate not to isolate, ever mindful of the less fortunate.  Then … all of that changed.

Something inside you was brewing.  At first it started with irritation – a shortness with others.  A slow slide into suspicion.  You married up and our hopes soared.  Life moved up, but your health moved down.  We could see that little irritations caused you to recoil.  We passed it off to opinion, but it became you.  Irritations grew to agitation, agitation to confrontation.  You were becoming a different person.  Pain increased, sensitivity heightened.  Isolation became preferred. Doctor after doctor, medication after medication and prayer upon prayer did not help.  It intensified.  We were frightened, we had no answers.  At last a diagnosis … a diagnosis with a negative prognosis.  Lyme disease.

In hind sight we see how it changed you.  Dealing with the pain, unanswered questions, and no clear path to resolution left you hopeless.  You reached out from time to time seeking answers, but no one could help.  Even God seemed quiet on the topic.  You continue to fight this battle in silence – when inside, you are screaming.  How different your life from where you were just a decade ago.  You get up every morning, regretting the day before it has a chance to prove you wrong.  You struggle to smile.  You cope.  You live, but not really.  Our hearts ache for you and your family, your extended family – for we are all injured by this disease.  We’ve lost a bit of you.  The world is a little less bright.

There’s nothing so painful than to watch your children suffer and not be able to help.  We love, support, encourage, engage, and try to act positive.  Something has to change.  We live in fear we’ll lose you – more than we’ve lost already.  You will find solutions – not through the capable hands of doctors, but through your own efforts and the efforts of your wife and family.  I have not lost faith that you can be healed.  I have not given up.

Please hang in there with us and we’ll solve this problem once and for all. Oh, how I long for those innocent days, when a single smile, a lifting comment, from a pain free boy could change a dad’s hectic day into pure delight.

You are much loved………………DAD

During Lyme Awareness Month, we’re publishing #LymeLetters written by those affected by Lyme Disease. Be sure to check out the rest of the letters here and to follow us @LymeNow on Facebook and Instagram.

 

 

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