People leave permanent imprints on our lives, each individual has value, and in the process of caring for sick children and their families I marry the understanding of my own experiences with those of the people I care for. This enriches my vision of all that is difficult and all that is worthwhile in life.
"Don't forget me" is something I have had more than one child say to me as they strive to make meaning of their shortened or limited lives. This could well be the mantra of us all as we want to leave behind us a legacy so that others will have no doubt as to what our purpose was in making a difference in this life time. To have the memory of our lives left strongly in some way opens the door to the very fact that this life is important, has meaning and has a purpose. Life is not futile.... there is hope and we are able to continue with our aspirations and dreams with expectation that all we hope to achieve will become fulfilled.
All of us would like to have the voice within us heard. There are many times that we reflect on our childhood and recall the times that we were not listened to or heard. I have been conscious of my own 'unheard' child's voice as I have cared for children who live with serious illness. As this has resonated within me I have 'reached inside' to gather the impact of this and use it today in the here and now to make a strong stand for children. It has provided motivation for me to ensure that all children within my care will not be silenced, but will have the opportunity to speak, be heard and understood.
The life experiences we have continue to mould us and shape us as we take these experiences into any given situation. Whether they are experiences we remember with pleasure, or ones that sadden us, they have all helped scope the path we are on. For some of us this has led to great and exciting places, and for some of us we have found the way to be full of challenges and suffering. My own personal life experiences have led me to walk alongside those that find life challenging, and I certainly understand suffering created by illness and crisis.
We all have our own stories shaped throughout time and history. We take our dominant beliefs and practices for granted as they are specific to our own values, and from this we make our own meaning. As I listen to the many stories shared with me, I hear of overwhelming pain and suffering. As I am invited into these stories of the children and families I care for, it is with respect that I listen, recognizing the richness of the meeting of hearts in this way. When we share our moments of pain and suffering with another it is unveiling our soul to the person we are trusting to 'listen to hear'. To be the one listening is a place of highest honour, but to the one sharing it is also a rich connection of spirit. A rare moment of simplest truth.
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