A little preamble to this post: be warned that what follows is a little Metaphysical Musing. I blame this kind of deep thinking on my classical, philosophy-laden original education (e.g. secondary school). That French schooling system has a lot to answer for! My last two posts were light-hearted (this was needed after the soul searching, heavily-emotional expressions at the start of this blog). Time now to go back to more serious, existentialist matters…!
I had been thinking over this topic for a while when, in a recent post, Hammie stated that she believed “that there is NO guardian angel watching over you”. Following on this, I HAD no choice but to put on cyber paper where my thoughts had taken me.
I believe that life events do not happen in a random fashion, but that there is a reason for everything. We might not always see it, understand it, but when are occasionally privileged enough to see the Bigger Picture, all is revealed!
I would describe myself as an agnostic. I was brought up as a catholic, but the religious side of spirituality has not “done” anything for me since my teens. Instead, I have slowly come to the belief that someone – call it God, an Angel, Life, the “Force” (as in “May the Force be with you” J ) Mother Nature, Higher Power, it does not matter what label we put on it - has brought certain options along the path of my life to prepare me for Bigger Events. Cathal’s birth and the ensuing discovery of the Syndrome and his heart conditions have been the final proof for me. But, even though I have now acquired this conviction, it has not been easy along the way.
I will wind back the clock a little bit to explain my own journey, keeping it just to the last three years or so. Some years back, I found myself somewhat disillusioned with my career, and needed a change. Both my children had flown the nest, fending for themselves in the big bad world, so I seriously considered all options, even if they meant relocating from near Waterford where I then lived… as long as it was not Dublin. I do not like living in cities, been there, done that, thanks but no thanks any more. I went on several interviews over a period of about 8 to 9 months, always ending up one of the last two candidates, only to be told “you are great, we would love to have you, but….” Every time. Crushing! So I decided to give up for a while and see what would happen. Almost immediately, I was “head-hunted” (lovely feeling) by a multinational: without much fuss, I was given an offer I could not refuse – and not in a Godfather way either. Only problem: I needed to move to Dublin. AAAAH! I simply could not resist. This WAS my opportunity, I had struggled too much, I took it, sold the house, and joined the mad race for housing in the greater Dublin area. A big thanks here to Cathal’s Mammy and The Dad for allowing me to squat with them for close to 8 months! Not easy having the “mother-in-law” breathing down your neck…!
I did not know it at the time, but this irresistible attraction was there simply to make sure I moved to the right location, the one I had always resisted, Dublin. STRIKE 1.
Also during those few months, I had had to travel a lot, including to France (knowledge of the language was essential for the job) and renewed a lot of contacts with uncles, aunts, and cousins. This later proved to be STRIKE 2.
After barely 7 months in the job, the bubble had burst, my department was being out-sourced, and there I was, waiting for the keys of my new nest, and committed to a “lovely” new mortgage, and no job!
Then STRIKE 3 happened: fortunately for me, my skills and experience were in demand, and within a very short time, I had 4 job offers: 3 multinationals, but I was still shell-shocked and very weary of these. And another, with terms not as advantageous as the others, but something in it that made me feel good: Not-for-profit, working very closely with hospital staff…. It was different, it just appealed to me. And I went for it.
My point is this: after Cathal was born, I realised that, had I been still living near Waterford, a 3 hours drive away, I would have found it extremely difficult to cope with the whole situation, especially his hospitalisation. I needed to be close to him, to see him and hold every day. I also needed to be close to my daughter, simply to be with her, to be there. The move to Dublin had been crucial.
And working with people in hospitals, including Crumlin, meant that I was able to talk freely to anyone I met about Cathal. The reaction I received was tremendous, because they work in that “environment” people understood why sometimes my “head” was not exactly in the right place. They also offered so much support, and still do. And I know that when the next surgery comes around, they will also understand and support, because that is what they do, everyday. Also, the “personal touch” of the organisation I work for is such, that my boss and colleagues have been a great source of strength to me. I do not believe I would have received this to the same extend in a “faceless” organisation.
Finally, having renewed contacts with family members meant that I had all their up-to-date email addresses, and could correspond easily, keeping them all informed, sending them photos, and receiving so much back. This support carried me, and hopefully helped Cathal’s parents. This support is still there, and will be through the next hurdle.
So I WAS looked after, the ground was prepared for me over 3 years, to give me the tools to cope with the situation, as well as the support I needed.
And now, let’s talk about my Little Prince, Cathal. He too is being looked after, and so well! I heard once that children chose their parents. This made me think a lot at the time. My objection to this statement was that this would imply some children would chose parents who abuse them or neglect them! This did not rest easy with me. Yet I could not let go of this idea.
Nearly six months after Cathal’s birth, I am thinking that, Yes, Cathal did choose his parents, and Yes, he made a very good choice. And for an innocent little soul like him to make such a choice, he had to be guided, “looked after”. His parents are true heroes in my eyes, they have shown so much dignity and courage. Their energy and determination, not only in wanting the best for him, but in actively pursuing the best, are awe inspiring. Their love is boundless, their acceptance total. Cathal could not have made a better choice.
As a conclusion to this musing, all I can say is that I have absolute faith in the future. I do not know why Cathal has Down Syndrome, and a messed up heart. In a way, this is irrelevant. What is relevant is that, no matter what comes, Cathal will be safe, and so will his parents. They are all looked after.
And now, I throw this question:
- Do you feel that you are “Looked After”?
- Or is it just Luck - good, bad or indifferent?
How do YOU see it?