Saturday, January 30, 2010

Grief

Today after playing with her cousins, Sophie cried in the car because while she was there they made non-safe brownies, and everyone had some--except, of course, Sophie! Over the past few weeks, she has angrily asked, "Why do I have to have food allergies, anyway?" She will mournfully say, "I wish I could have some of that." Her feelings regarding food have clearly shifted from reluctant acceptance to sadness and anger, even grief.

After nearly 8 years of living with food allergies, is she just now grieving her loss? Does it take a child 8 years to realize the mark of food allergies? To see the separation and limitations caused by this, dare I say, disability?

And is it possible that everything I've done for her is not enough? The research, experimentation, recipes...doctor's visits, eliminating pets, foods? Is it truly possible that my years of depression about food were not enough to save Sophie from her own grief?

2 comments:

Natalie and Damon said...

It's hard to be the sick one. As a parent we would do anything to help our child, and save them from struggle and grief, but it is impossible to shield them from all disappointment. Benjamin has to eat gluten free foods like me, but in a way it's easier because I eat the same as him, and so does Daddy most of the time. He may not live this way forever, and Sophie may one day find that she is okay with some foods too. As the person in the family who suffers the illness, I will attest, it is much harder to be the one who must deal with the illness or the consequence, even though my illness affects my whole family. The best advice I ever got was it's okay to be mad, to mourn and be upset. Eventually you have to accept it, but the ones that don't complain or mourn are talked about because they are the exception, not the rule. It sucks, but there's nothing you can do about it, and eventually you move on. Let Sophie be upset for a while, and then teach her to move on, and find a new way to approach the problem. One more idea would be to send her to a camp/program with other kids with similar allergies. It's helpful to know you are not alone, and to be able to talk to others that struggle like you do. She may be able to find a penpal through the internet. Connecting with normal kids who deal with abnormal issues will help her realize that she isn't the only one who has to eat special foods and gets left out sometimes. If you need help finding someone, I'm developing quite a network. :) Keep working at it, one day she'll appreciate all you've done to make her life as wonderful as it is.

Serena said...

I'm so sorry to hear about Sophie's grief and yours! I don't think I will ever fully understand what it's like for my daughter to have food allergies. I know how hard it is for me and my daily struggle with keeping her safe and healthy, but will I ever know what it's like to be denied things that the majority of the world can have? Will I ever understand the question she asks or will inevitably ask, "Why me?" Thank you for your courage to post your feelings because they are often what the rest of us F.A. families are feeling but don't have the outlet to share! On another note, I hope you know that you have made our lives and those of our children with food allergies more delicious! Thank you!