CareKids: A Twinkle in His Eye
by Sandi Magadov 

Everyone always said he looked liked me: he had a twinkle in his eye. My son died, and so did the twinkle in my eye. I am now working on healing myself and getting that twinkle back. 

When I wrote my story, "A Mother's Nightmare", I had no idea it would help me along the path of healing. Seeing the article in print for the first time, my eyes filled with tears. How could I share such deep emotions with strangers? I have always been a very private person and that meant keeping my feelings and emotions tucked safely inside. What I didn't realize was that by doing this, I was hiding from the one thing I needed to deal with in order to grow. What you resist, persists. And the grief was persisting. 

When I became a caregiver to my son, I gave up every other part of my life. Friends tried to get me out, but all I wanted to do was stay home and look after Andrew. It wasn't until a nurse at the hospital suggested taking me out to dinner, that I finally went. Andrew insisted that I go, and told her to make sure I had some fun. Sometimes the patient knows what the caregiver needs, more than the caregiver does. At 15, he was like an old soul with wisdom beyond his years. In the hospital, he taught a young intern how to have compassion, and he taught his doctors to treat him like a person, not a patient; he taught the nurses to knock on his door before entering and to respect his privacy. He touched everyone's heart, and everyone learned something. In his dying days, it was Andrew who gave me the strength to carry on. We cried together and then laughed together until one of my tears would drop on his face. It seemed that he held onto life until he felt certain that I was going to be all right. 

After his death, I went to support groups, psychologists, astrologers and psychics. I attended lectures on reincarnation and past lives, and I read books -- anything that would help bring me some peace. Everything I did took me a step further along my path. But it wasn't until after writing the article, that I was finally able to open up and release my pent up emotion. People who had known Andrew now felt comfortable talking to me and sharing memories. Strangers were asking questions about how I coped during his illness. It was a wonderful feeling to finally be free enough to talk after seven years. 

I thank Gary Barg, the publisher of Today's Caregiver, for encouraging me to share my story, but mostly I thank myself for having the courage to write it and allowing myself to become whole again. I survived one of the worst tragedies in life, and now I need to put that twinkle back in my eye. I would like to encourage you to join me on this journey of healing by sharing your experiences and concerns in this column.


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