The Five Love Languages of CHD Families: Words of Affirmation
Families dealing with a CHD diagnosis need to hear words that support and encourage them through their journey. So much love can be given through words. It’s understandable that finding those words can be difficult when the situation is almost impossible to relate to. So here is what happens: You might say, “I’m sure everything will be fine.” or “Everything happens for a reason.” Even though intentions are good, it isn’t what we want to hear. Honestly hearing the words “That f****** sucks” seems to be more comforting because it shows pure honesty. It seems counter intuitive in terms of wanting to be supportive, but those of us that have been through this journey crave that kind of honesty. We already know we need to stay positive. We already know we need to pray (if we’re the praying sort). We already know that you know someone else who knows a person, who knows another person, who has a friend who has gone through the same thing. But it’s not the same, it’s just not.
Keep calling and sending those texts. Please know that even if we’re too overwhelmed or unable to respond to a text or call, it means so much to us that you’re thinking about our family. Sometimes with long-term hospital stays, we are so emotionally and physically drained that days fly by and we haven’t responded. Caring for a child with CHD — in or out of the hospital — can take every ounce of energy, and sometimes it’s just hard to respond.
If you can’t think of anything to say because nothing sounds right, remember that the reminder that you are loved is always nice to hear. “You and your family are so loved” can have just as much impact as a literal embrace.