A short life28th September 2019
Dr Lennon’s Sunday Musings
I recently met a man (let’s call him John) whose son (Mike) had been diagnosed with mitochondria disease. It is a truly horrible condition to be born with and fundamentally means that the life span of that child will be significantly shortened (usually about 16-17 years of age). Mike is now 8 years old.
John was telling me what it was like knowing that Mike is unlikely to live past his late teens. Mike’s health has not been great since he was born. So his life consisted of multiple hospital visits for many years and will continue to do so as his health slowly but surely deteriorates until his passing. Can you imagine how this affects the entire family? Their lives as they know it would be forever changed when Mike was diagnosed with this condition. John was telling me how they had to cancel their family holiday as Mike’s health took a downturn. Mike also has a younger sister, Sophie, whose life is profoundly affected as well.
I was completely humbled and inspired by John as he shared with me his story, his struggles as a father, a husband, a working man and as a person. He is able to find gratitude despite this and strives to be the best person he knows how. He does not give up and finds strength to support his family financially, emotionally, physically and mentally. In Chinese, there is a saying, “白头送黑头”. It means ‘white head (hair) sending off black head (hair). Parents should never really be attending their child’s funeral.
It was a life changing moment for me when I reflected on how lucky my life has been and how grateful I am for my blessings. It is so easy to think we are hard done by life and what life throws at us. At least we are still alive and have spent many years of our lives not having to be troubled by the thought of death or a reduced life span. We should be so grateful.
Being a vet, I could not help by compare the similarity that our furry friends expected life span is about 15-17 years or so. We know how hard it is for us to accept our pets’ passing when they get to that age. But to compare that to a human child, the grief to me, is just unfathomable.
I dedicate this post to all who had to experience a short life, an unexpected death or supporting a terminal illness.
Let’s be grateful for our existence and appreciate those around us more by showing love and compassion and tell them how much we love them.Back to Blog