Her little limp body felt like it was on fire from the high fever she was spiking.
It was one nasty viral infection. I lied in bed with her and cried. It hurt in my soul. I agonized over seeing her suffer. I prayed to everyone and anyone listening, “Please, help my little girl! Help me to help her.”
And then a terrifying question came to mind, “What if my little girl dies?”
My mind went spiraling down. I told myself that bad things happen to good people. Sudden and mysterious tragedies. Innocent children die. Why would my child be an exception? It was torture.
But in that moment, an unexpected thought came forth from deep within me—from my soul.
I affirmed with every cell of my body, with my whole being, that I had done everything in my power to help my child throughout her short life. And if this was the end for her, then there was nothing I would have done differently.
I gave her everything that I did not get during my formative years. I overcame numerous, painful breastfeeding challenges and managed to still nurse her and create a beautiful bond. I co-slept and endured many sleepless nights with her. I spent quality time with her creating healthy attachment and a positive base for emotional security.
I loved her more than anything in the world, and I always would.
Nothing would ever change that.
We would always be connected in spirit, no matter what happens.
And with that, I let my tight human grip on her go…
What happened next was a complete surprise to me.
A feeling of deep peace came over me. My tense body softened and relaxed. My heavy heart felt lighter. I held my little girl in my arms, and we both fell asleep.
The next morning, she woke up smiling. The fever had subsided, and I was relieved!
The biggest fear for a parent is losing their child. And yet, in our logical human minds, we understand death and our mortality. We know that the day will come when we’ll each transition and pass on.
But tell that to any parent, and it’s the last thing they want to hear or acknowledge.
When my little girl started to go to preschool, she became exposed to all kinds of germs and viruses that kids give to each other. This is just part of the normal process of growing up. But it also meant that she was getting sick all the time. It was relentless, exhausting, and terrifying.
People would tell me that this was just her body’s way of building up strong immunity, which did not comfort me whatsoever.
No parent wants to see their child sick and suffering. And for new parents, it’s even harder. It feels like you’re being thrown into the deep end with no lifesaver. Your lack of experience and understanding only makes it scarier.
It’s a part of parenting that no one seems to tell you about before you have kids. Non-parents might empathize as they see their friends and family go through this. But when it’s your kid, the only thing that you can focus on is getting them back to full health.
So if you recall your own parents agonizing every time you got sick, it might have been because they felt like they were drowning in the deep end of overwhelm and terrified of losing you.
I have so much more patience and understanding now for newbie parents than I did before I became a mother. I now understand that each episode of sickness can be a chance to gain greater wisdom, trust, and connection with my own growing mother’s intuition.
That said, many parents, like me, making an effort to consciously raise our children, find ourselves in a dilemma. On one hand, we want to practice healthy attachment with our children. And at the same time, we want to cultivate a spiritual practice of less attachment to the physical, which includes our children.
Enter ultra compassion.
This is where I’ve seen and experienced the great importance of being compassionate with both ourselves and with others. Because parenting is messy, topsy-turvy, and yet also magical and beautiful all at the same time.
For example, from time to time, the same terrifying thought will pop in my head: “What if my daughter dies?” When this happens, I go back to that moment and reconnect with the same sensation of eternal love and peace. I’m gentle and tender with my sensitive self. The fear dissipates, and I focus back on the joy of having my daughter with me right here and now.
Because the truth is, I am completely attached to the most important person in my life—my daughter.
And at the same time, I embrace the idea that a loved one is never really gone, but rather has reemerged with source energy as a nonphysical being. There is an eternal connection to our loved ones through energy and spirit that continues even when their physical presence is not with us.
Even though they seem contradictory, there is a space for both healthy human attachment and a spiritual practice of non-attachment to co-exist. For all of us.
As parents, it is our role and honor to help guide our children to reach their greatest potential and expression of themselves.
I remind myself that my daughter does not belong to me. I might be her legal guardian. I might be her mother. But she is her own person. Her own soul. She has come to this world with a unique vision and her own lessons to learn.
Navigating this knowing and the very real and human emotions are just as much a part of our overall parenting experience.
Ultimately, as much as we teach our children, they are also our greatest life teachers.
Author: Tisha Lin
Images: Author’s own
Editor: Travis May
Copy & Social Editor: Yoli Ramazzina