The holiday season brings happiness and joy to many. Homes are adorned with lights and decorations, and people wear clothing in festive colors. The excitement is contagious. However, many people find this time of year to be exhausting and even painful. When they are living with a rare or chronic illness, sometimes the disease takes center stage, and the seasonal merriment becomes a source of envy or something to despise.
Six years ago, my youngest son, Caeleb, was in the hospital at Christmas time. We had hoped that his knee bleed would begin to resolve so that we could celebrate at home, but he was still in the hospital on Christmas Eve. As my husband and our older son attended church, I left Caeleb sleeping with a fever in his hospital bed.
You may wonder how I could have left him, even for a couple of hours. But when you are at the hospital keeping vigil over your sick child, you must take care of yourself too. After church, my husband returned to the hospital to spend the night with Caeleb. I brought Christmas to my son the next morning.
I was fortunate to have the resources to celebrate Christmas despite spending that week at the hospital. I realize that few people who are ill can do the same.
That Christmas morning, I witnessed a powerful moment when the compassionate actions of my sick child helped to bring joy to another boy.
Caeleb noticed that the little boy in the neighboring hospital room was alone on Christmas morning. He wondered why he had no one with him. I told him that his mom must have other children at home, and she would be there later that day.
As we opened gifts, Caeleb asked me to invite the little boy to his room. He gave him an unopened present, telling him that it was from Santa. The little boy’s eyes lit up, and his face shone. Chemotherapy had left him without a hair on his head and with sunken eyes, but the joy that Caeleb’s kind gesture brought to him was evident. My heart was full.
I remember that morning every Christmas. I think about the many caregivers who are sitting in the hospital missing another holiday. They are dealing with another absence from work without pay and another day unable to be fully present for children at home while trying to be everything for their sick child.
This holiday season, I will look for opportunities to make a difference in someone’s life. Even a small gesture can bring joy to a person who feels lost. When they are dealing with an illness, your act of kindness can make another person feel seen for the first time in a long time.
Note: Hemophilia News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Hemophilia News Today or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to hemophilia.