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Empathy

on Wednesday, 22 February 2017. Posted in AWF Blog

Empathy: the ability to understand and share the feelings of another.

I’m going to warn you, this will not be my typical Angel Wings Foundation blog post. This past week our 8-year-old daughter was hospitalized at Seattle Children’s Hospital. I’m not going to share all of the details, but having a child admitted with an unknown diagnosis is pretty scary. If you’ve ever dealt with a very sick child, you know you go into survival mode. I never thought about calling my best friends to come sit with me. I never thought about eating or drinking. I never gave a moment of my time to worrying about paying bills, answering emails or rescheduling meetings. I was in survival mode. Mama bear mode. We received top notch care, especially from the superhuman nursing staff. For the most part, every person we interacted with did so with compassion, patience and a listening ear. The few that didn’t, got to experience a watered-down version of Beverly Goldberg (if you haven’t seen The Goldberg’s sitcom you need to). I love being a mom and take my job very seriously. I’m also well versed in hospitals, in my “former life” I was a full-time registered dietitian. I can navigate the medical world a bit easier than most. It is natural for me to jump in and care for others who are walking through horrible times.

I didn’t leave the hospital for 8 days. I couldn’t leave her side. During those long nights of no sleep and tons of prayer, I reflected on my role within Angel Wings Foundation. I thought about the Capatch family and the year they spent living in the hospital with Charlize. I thought about the Cozzi’s who continue to fight every day for Cam. I thought about all of the conversations I’ve had with AWF families over the past 10 years, and how lucky I have been to make a difference in their lives. I think about the events over the last 10 days, the desperation and helplessness that I felt. During our hospitalization, I reached out to a family who has been at Children’s with their 3-year-old, battling a brain tumor. AWF has been doing some special projects for them and I was excited to go up to the oncology floor and meet them for the first time. The mom and I chatted for a bit and I was blown away by her care and concern for what was happening with my daughter. Empathy. I sat there in awe, letting her know that I was honored to get to meet her and be a small source of light during their horrific journey. We both agreed that it’s never about comparing situations, but just helping others feel that they’re not alone, no matter what the diagnoses.

Authentic communication and empathy can go a long way to helping someone feel loved and supported. As we were discharged from the hospital and drove away, my heart broke for all of the families who don’t get to leave. I hurt for all of those moms who would love to have their kids picky eating or a broken dishwasher be their biggest problems. I sit here today, typing away and watching my sweet girl gain her strength and sparkle back. I keep thinking about what we are going to do to give back to all of the staff who helped us. So, I start with this blog post to share a bit of where my heart is and to remind everyone to be grateful every single day. Even in the worst moments, we can find a reason to be grateful. When you’re at your lowest points, remember, there is someone else out there that wants you to know you’re not alone. Empathy, it drives connection and is what we ALL need.

{Please take 3 minutes & click on this link} Brene Brown Empathy

In love,

Holly

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