"Someone who comes to me and says, “You are not alone”

After a year in hospital, the health emergency hit, with all its difficulties and concerns. But also many discoveries, within everyday life. The mother of a disabled child talks about a gift “thought of for me”.

For two years now, my family and I have been living a kind of lockdown due to my second son’s health problems. He is almost three years old and suffers from Down’s Syndrome, and has undergone three surgeries. One year, discontinuously, I spent a year in hospital with him at Sant'Orsola Hospital in Bologna, locked in a room for months, with my husband and my four-year-old son at home. Since last October, his condition has become more complicated and Nicodemus always needs oxygen.

We returned home from his last admission to hospital about ten days before the beginning of the health emergency. From being locked in hospital, we became locked at home. Finally, the four of us were all living together, something we missed. However, we lived with very little serenity, for fear of contagion and because of Nicodemus’ precarious condition.

The external contact we managed to have was with friends of our School of Community, Fr. Onerio and friends of the Saint Ursula movement: Fr. Santo, Chiara and Professor Strippoli. This has helped me not to lose the path that the Mystery, with the birth of Nicodemus, has never spared me: in these years I found myself responding to that call that Fr. Giussani calls saying “’yes’ to every instant without seeing anything, simply adhering to the pressures of occasion. It is a dizzying position."

Thanks to connections with School of Community I could not hide behind the thought that I have been living this situation for years, nor behind the fear of what is happening and that so many of our habits are changing. Jesus, through these friends, comes to get me to tell me that I am not alone.

The more days go by, however, the more I find myself having to deal with a reality that, after all, makes me uncomfortable. As Carrón writes in What saves us from nothingness?, I too sometimes wake up in the morning fearful that I am at the mercy of an anxiety that I cannot explain, despite my intention to say "here I am", always certain that God does not make mistakes, that what He has thought for me is a masterpiece that requires effort and a lot of trust in Him. I confirm my "yes" in every moment, trying to accept the opportunity that was given to me with Nicodemus more than to accept it, but it is as if that were not enough. In the long run, even this acceptance begins to weigh heavily, as if something of me had been put aside. Thus my heart remains restless.

I thought back to Jesus' question to Peter: "Do you love me?" It is as if God said to me: "But do you love Me or the works you do for me?" To love God is to love everything, starting with me, and this opens my eyes wide beyond the "perfect" disability of my child. It goes beyond.

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This love demands everything of me, not just my energy and availability. And thanks to my friends, who call me back to this through the work of School of Community, I have an even more certain confirmation that I am before God every moment, even if I stagger, in a prayer full of life where my gaze is redirected towards the reality that I am living, towards the faces of these precious friends, within the celestial and almond-shaped eyes of my child that God though of for me.

Fabiana, Cesena, Italy