For those whose lives have been touched by having a disabled child, we know good and well that vacations rarely happen.
For those who have been blessed or challenged with bringing that child through the long fight into adolescence or adulthood, we know that it is a long journey.
The tenacity to fight to keep a child alive, to fight with insurance, to fight with doctors, to fight to keep your job is not reminiscent of the vacations we dreamed about or knew before our lives changed.
But for those who keep up the good fight and push toward health and stability for their child, perhaps even strive beyond keeping a job but excelling in your vocation, we know the journey is long and hard but something we must do.
Having been on this journey for nearly 15 years, I have recently found myself in Holland. A series of events and relationships evolved into a business opportunity in The Netherlands and from the moment I landed my mind has thought about the story “Welcome to Holland”.
While the story seeks to help you find the good and ‘lovely things’ in your new destination, it fails to capture the reality of this long hard journey.
For those who have journeyed long and found a new normal in this special flavor of life, you arrive in Holland reminded of the how terribly different your life experiences are from the people you pass on the street. Happy, sun-tanned faces, couples, families, holiday goers enjoy themselves while you traipse alone, through the streets.
What “Welcome to Holland” failed to point out was that if you eventually made it to Holland, you’d be alone. Your child with a disability probably wouldn’t be able to travel with you. Your significant other whom you had journeyed through this life wouldn’t be with you.
You’d eat meals in restaurants surrounded by happy couples and families and groups. Then perhaps you would wander to the ocean to watch a beautiful sunset as the sun descended to somewhere else on the planet.
You would sit alone until darkness came, realizing the journey that lands you eventually in Holland is one of loneliness.
So you buy souvenirs for your significant other who will never see this country with you, and you journey on.
Because the way you keep your disabled child alive and thriving is to walk the long, hard, uphill road that eventually ends you to the end of a lonely pier in a country you never intended to go to…alone.