When you begin the journey of parenthood you are in it alone, with a baby growing inside you. You may have a partner but the journey of discovery is really something that you can only share with them. You carry him and feel him kicking in ways that your partner can’t feel or understand.
In the hours after Josh was born, I lay in the OR recovery room touching my empty womb and wondering if he was still alive. He wasn’t even in the same hospital with me anymore, he had already been taken to Sick Kids across the street. From there it was what can only be described as a journey, a beautiful, scary, deadly journey. Every single appointment, every single needle, surgery, procedure, MRI, ER visit, clinic visit, question, every single tear, it was on me to help make it better. I have a husband, a good husband and father but it was me who took over the medical care of Josh (and I did it because I wouldn’t have it any other way).
Last year I was asked to walk in the walk for life event that the Cardiac Health Foundation of Canada runs every year. I joined a team but I didn’t really know anyone so I found myself on the start line alone, and I walked, alone. However, as I walked I found myself on a journey of remembering, of healing. I had promised my donors that if I reached a certain goal I would do 10km instead of the 5 I had been meant to do; and the first few kilometers were fairly easy going, I walked and thought back, sometimes the memories were hard and sometimes they made me smile. The further I got the more tired I was but I couldn’t stop, step after step I continued down the path and I realized that it was similar to our lives. We get tired, but we can’t stop, we have someone counting on us in ways that they count on no one else. As I got to the 8km mark I began to pick up speed and in honor of Joshua’s strength I ran the last 2 km. Running isn’t my thing, I hate it for many reasons, but I ran because I was now on a journey too, one of healing. When I crossed the finish line I had tears in my eyes, sweat everywhere, and so much joy inside at both finishing the race I had set for myself but also knowing that I was doing this alone, for Josh. As the parent of a child with a congenital heart defect it can sometimes feel like we are alone, sometimes we feel like there is no one that understands what we are going through. Last year I was on a team of survivors, they were awesome, but they have different stories, different journeys. This year, I am so excited that we will walk with the Cardiac Kids, we will stand tall together, step by step on a journey not one of us wanted but we are here anyway. This year, I won’t be walking alone, I will walking beside people who fully understand life with CHD from a parents perspective and I have to tell you that I am so excited, to meet all of you and to raise money and awareness with you. I will see you in May with your walking shoes on!
Interested in joining Team Cardiac Kids in this year’s Walk of Life? Click here to join our team.