“Morris is getting worse,” he said.
Michael wept while sharing the news.
“He remains unable to speak. I’m concerned that as he gets older, we will need to place him in an institution. I don’t think we’ll be able to manage this much longer.”
“And Aimee is so sweet,” explaining how his daughter was trying to help despite her own serious issues. “But with her C.P., she will need back surgery to fix a problem she has with her spine.”
“I also worry about how the world will treat her,” he went on. “She is beginning to become aware that she is different. She doesn’t want to be. But she knows she is. There is nothing I can do for her. Nothing. Other than love her like we do,” he broke down.
“I do not want the two of them to be a burden on Alexandra. She should not have to deal with her two siblings when she is older. Jeremy, what else can we do?” Michael asked me.
Michael and Sharon have been clients of mine for a long time. I remember when each of their children was born – the excitement, the joy.
Then, one day, it all changed.
The kids were not born the way they had hoped.
The way any parent hopes.
Look, we all want only the best for our kids. We want them to be healthy and happy and to have no fears in life. We protect them for as long as we can. We do for them all that we can.
But some things are simply out of our control.
Michael and Sharon have three children. They are three very different kids.
I sat with Michael this week, discussing his financial plan and what he needs to do, both now and in the future. But I’ve never seen so much fear and sadness in him. I’ve never seen what I witnessed that day.
‘Not knowing what to do or how to do it.
The exhaustion in his eyes and in his relationship.
The inability to get the rest he and his wife need. What they deserve.
As we sat together, sharing a bottle of wine, I could only tell him that things would be ok. He would get past this, I assured him.
And whatever decision he and Sharon would make would be the right one. No matter how difficult, it would be the right decision. The best decision.
Since then, reflecting on that meeting, I find myself asking, why am I so lucky?
What makes me different?
Why have I had all these advantages when others have had so few?
Make no mistake, my life has not been easy. But compared to what Michael and Sharon have endured, what do I have to complain about?
So, my kids get upset that they can’t play video games whenever they want.
That’s completely insignificant compared to Michael, who has to change his 8-year-old son’s diaper, who is unable to communicate verbally with his parents.
There is simply no comparison.
There shouldn’t be.
I can only remind myself that we are all here, together. And we are all different.
The only thing we can control is how we treat others, how we can help those around us, and truly feel grateful for what we have every single day.