The Bridge to Empowerment

Between the worlds of adolescence and adulthood lies a tightrope, haphazardly straddling a crevice. Chronic disease demands an early crossing, necessitating unfaltering confidence for decisions previously reserved for the wise and seasoned among us.

I sit stoically in the seat reserved for me, the one closest to the door. My former seat, strategically placed next to the team, now holds my daughter. She sits with the slouching posture of fear. I wait, she waits, time stands still. There is nothing to say, as fear has such few words. I grab her hand, reassuring her with a weak smile that we will choose the right course. Silence and empowerment, the conflicting tools we use in an attempt to create balance.

The knock shakes our silence. He swiftly enters the room, his smile like a blanket around her anxiety. She sits taller, exuding the strength that I wish I could embody. Not so long ago, she was simply a child in this room, oblivious and naive. She sees his calm, recognizes his confidence, and then simply positions her body toward her guide, and away from me. I could not be more proud.

The ensuing moments will stay with me indefinitely. It was the first time I witnessed the effects of true partnering. I saw a human behind the stethoscope, and wisdom in a child that was silently begging to be honored. I was present for a moment when everything changed. For the first time, she understood her own value in this process and the significance of her voice on the team. It was the turning point in her care, offering her the opportunity to see her own unrestricted potential.

Tests, symptoms and exam showed that we were yet again wallowing in the gray of indecision. With kind eyes and an open soul, her doctor told her she was the expert. Reassurance abounded. Words of empowerment rang through. He held space for her as she asked the same question repeatedly, hoping for a new answer. It was clear in that moment, that he made a choice before he walked through the door, to value her spirit more than his own time.

Leaving the room we knew the path we were on. Yet she walked out the door embodying the person that he made her believe she was, strong, confident and empowered.