Touched by loss. Empowered through community.

Balancing Act

Monday, January 28, 2013
Posted By: 
Becky Lichucki

Becky Lichucki lost her husband in a car accident in 2008.  She lives in the western suburbs with her 5-year-old son, Munchkin, and writes for her own blog, Choosing Grace Today.

Munchkin is asthmatic. In the grand scheme of childhood diseases, it’s not so bad.  I get that and I am grateful. However, when his lungs get inflamed, Murphy's Law applies and he becomes susceptible to pneumonia, RSV and the flu.  Now I am Irish, so I should be used to Mr. Murphy by now, but really, I wish he would go take a vacation and never bother our family again!

Pneumonia struck early in the week and Munchkin was admitted to the hospital.  I was genuinely caught off guard.  I thought his doctor would listen to his lungs, adjust one of his meds and send us home.  As a result, I did not bring supplies to entertain him to the hospital or a change of clothes for either of us or even my laptop to do some work.  And I didn't have Robert there to tell me it would be alright. I needed to swallow my feelings and fears and reassure Munchkin that it would be ok--that we would put some "superhero medicine in his arm and he would get better quick”. 

But here is the thing; when you have a two parent household, you have someone on your side. You are a team.  You can take turns comforting your child when they come to give him a treatment or coax him to cooperate when they want to listen to his lungs or anything else that needs to be done. In theory, you have two voices to advocate for your child, and two people to look at idiots who suggest that you give a five year old a COUGH DROP to stop his wheezing.  Right, because cough drops eliminate inflammation in the lungs and are not a choking hazard when a kid is coughing and wheezing so badly he cannot even speak.  And let me tell you, Robert had a much better, "ARE YOU AN IDIOT??", look than I do.

Here is the other thing: I am our sole income and sole support. That means that FMLA (unpaid) isn't really an option.  I have to maintain a work presence while still devoting my energy to Munchkin who needs his mommy. Thankfully, I can do work at any time of the day, so that gets done between midnight and 3 am. You know, once Munchkin has calmed down enough from the steroids to pass out and get some sleep. Instead of sleeping when he does, I have to boot up my laptop and dig in. At least to make sure that the bare necessities are covered and hope that I'm not so sleep deprived that I make a mistake that comes back to bite me at a later date.  It really is a delicate balancing act.

Five days later, we were home and I am extremely grateful. My mom cooked some nutritious food for us and went shopping and filled my fridge. I have three friends that have offered to run errands for me.  My brother shoveled my sidewalk and driveway and I have most of our laundry done.  But Munchkin still requires breathing treatments every three hours around the clock. So there really isn't much time for either of us to get much sleep. It is still just the two of us fighting through as best we can and praying that this is our last bout of this mess for a long while.

I know that I am blessed to be in a job that allows me to provide for us and that I have family and friends who offer to help but sometimes I just wish that it was not all on my shoulders. I think about one of my favorite quotes, "When life is too much to stand, KNEEL!", and I pray. I thank God for all the blessings that he has bestowed on us and I ask him to continue to provide for us and I give my struggles to him. I cannot change my circumstances. I cannot bring Robert back.  I cannot make Munchkin not have these lung issues.  I cannot heal my broken heart.  I can only have faith that God will continue to provide for us. I hold on to that faith to sustain me and know that tomorrow is another day. And I get the chance to attempt the balancing act all over again.


This was beautifully written and really hit home for me. Thank you very much for taking time out of your very full life to share your wisdom and hope. Your message has inspired me.

Sarah-thank you so much for your kind words! I am not so sure that it is wisdom...but definitely hope that I can share.

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