To Harlynn, With Love

Harlynn love

A week ago would have been Harlynn’s fifth birthday. For months, the weight of the number five loomed above my head, and I felt burdened with an awkward responsibility of having been a bereaved parent for that amount of time.

Five years ago, our lives were forever changed. Five years ago, we said goodbye before we ever had the opportunity to say hello. Five. Years. Continue reading “To Harlynn, With Love”

What A Difference A Sound Makes!

From the time he was born, our Little Man has had hearing issues. Initially, he was diagnosed with a severe and significant loss. After more tests, evaluations, and examinations, he was officially diagnosed with a mild-to-moderate hearing loss. Since I myself have a hearing loss, I can mostly follow and understand not only his charts, but his struggles.

When we were told he would need hearing aids, it was a tough and emotional realization for me. My son, as a result of his hearing loss, is classified as special-needs. He has case-workers. He is recognized by our state as having a disability.

And I, as his mother, can’t do anything to make it better.

This is a profoundly emotional thing for me, especially in dealing as a parent after the loss of one of my children. The fact I still cannot protect my other children, and knowing he most likely got his hearing loss from me, makes me feel about an inch tall. It’s a horrible feeling. It’s a spiraling feeling. It’s a trigger.

I had been increasingly frustrated with his audiology appointments. I felt like I wasn’t understanding what was happening, what they were planning, why we weren’t moving forward with aids, but mostly – that we had to go to them at all because I couldn’t keep my son from having a hearing loss.

After his most recent ABR (Auditory Brainstem Response) test and confirmation he still struggled in his hearing and would need aids, I broke down in the presence of the audiologist. I couldn’t hold myself together. I tried to dismiss it, saying, “I’ve been up since 4:30 this morning…” but the truth was it was hard news to take.

We got home, he let me snuggle a little extra that day, and we had an appointment for a couple of weeks from then for him to receive his aids.

A few days later I got a card in the mail from the audiologist. In browsing the waiting room looking for magazines to read, she came across an article I had written last fall about losing Harlynn. She had no idea we had lost a child (how do you bring that up at an audiology appointment?) but this discovery gave her far more insight as to why I was frustrated, why I was so emotional, and that I needed a little extra TLC in handling the news about my son.

That card made all the difference for me emotionally.

A week later, we went to have Little Man’s hearing aids put in. I was apprehensive. Will kids make fun of him? Will kids try to take these out of his ears? Will these be fuel for bullying? Will people treat him differently because he has to wear these for the rest of his life? I can’t protect him from any of this. Trigger…

The moment she put his aids in and turned them on, a whole new world opened up for Little Man. He made a few faces like he wasn’t sure what was going on, but within minutes, he was playing and carrying on like he had always worn hearing aids. I was blown away.

Sound

He’s had his aids for a week now, and aside from the occasional attempt to gnaw on them, he has done absolutely fantastic. He has become far more chatty than he was before having them. Hearing him babble and make all kinds of new sounds is thrilling for us. Not only is he super adorable, but he’s showing tremendous progress with regard to his speech development and understanding.

There are a few sounds we can tell he is hearing that we know he didn’t hear before, but really until he can coherently communicate with us, we won’t know the extent of how helpful they are. His behavioral hearing tests, however, have shown stark improvement with his aids and his response to sounds.

This is a good thing. It’s good, and exciting, and a blessing.

Everything that makes me apprehensive about my son having hearing aids is nestled in fear. Fear is a default for me – and for most bereaved parents. So many “what-if”s. So many unknowns. It’s how I measure everything that happens or could happen in my life.

The longer he has his aids, the more comfortable I am with the whole thing. Yes, he has a hearing loss, but he can still hear so much. These aids will transform his life for the better when all is said and done. I have nothing to fear, and there’s nothing Little Man will face as a result of his hearing aids we can’t trust God to get him through.

What a difference a sound makes!