On August 5th, 2017—the day we were supposed to go home from the hospital—our newborn son, Thomas, was sent to Children’s Hospital because of a possible bowel obstruction. He had jaundice, a distended abdomen, and had begun to spit up dark, green bile.
We would soon find out that, in addition to Down Syndrome, Thomas’s diagnosis was complete colonic Hirschsprung’s disease.
At just one week old, he was put under anesthesia and had surgery. We spent an additional seven weeks at the hospital battling an infection and navigating feeding issues.
During those weeks, I watched as he endured needle sticks, attempts at IV’s, PICC line insertions, and multiple nasal tube insertions. I have never felt so useless or helpless before. The only thing that I could do was just be there with him so he would know he wasn’t alone.
I stayed every day with him at the hospital, and I held his hand as he suffered and cried in pain.
Watching him suffer was heartbreaking. I would never wish it on anyone, but I realized Mother Mary knows that pain all too well. The suffering Mary endured during the crucifixion of her only son is a mother’s nightmare. However, it was through suffering and sorrow that Mary is able to participate in her son’s sacrifice, something I more fully understand since witnessing my own son’s suffering.
Thomas’s pain became my pain; likewise, Christ’s pain became Mary’s pain.
She could have fled because it was too much to endure, yet she remained with him despite being unable to stop his suffering, and, therefore, her own. She wouldn’t let her son suffer alone, and I knew she wouldn’t let mine, either.
I petitioned Mother Mary constantly for the strength and grace to make it through each day, and she helped me make it through one of the most difficult times of my life. She never abandoned her son, and she will never desert us. We need only turn to her in our suffering and hardship, and she will be there, covering us with grace and bringing us ever closer to her son.