An Open Letter to Our Village

They say it takes a village. It sounds cliché, but it is true. As an adult with CHD, I see that the need for support, for that village, for your people to rally around you –  in crisis, in celebration, in life – does not end once you’re “grown up”.  Beyond our parents, our extended family often plays a major role in navigating CHD, at the start and throughout life. This week, we thank the residents of our village for the irreplaceable impact they’ve had on the lives of patients and Heart Parents.

​​To​ Our​ Grandparents

​For being an ​extra ear in doctors appointments and a source of reassurance for our parents

For the warm hugs and encouragement during recovery. ​For our favorite home cooked meals, the comfort of your presence, and the special memories you made with us. For the love​ ​and care you gave our siblings when they may be missing mom or dad. 

Thank you for ​your quiet strength and warm heart.

To Our Aunts and Uncles 

 For being our parents’ sounding board​, a second set of hands​, for the laughs you brought when you visited, for treating us and our siblings like one of your own. For the school pick ups or little adventures, for the overnights to give our parents a break. ​For being our cheerleaders.​

Thank you for ​your uplifting support and giving ​heart​.

To Our Friends, those of our parents and our own 

For the meal trains and the cheerful flowers. For the reminiscing, the updates on the outside world, and pleasant distractions. ​For your ​understanding​-​ sometimes having stood in our shoes, ​and for​ being a sturdy shoulder. 

Thank you for your empathetic soul and  joyous heart. 

To Our Cousins

For the fun, the jokes, and all the mischief. For making sure we got to act like kids. For the sense of belonging. For being our protectors on the playground and your good-natured teasing at home.  For the company, the inclusion, and your friendship. 

Thank you for your playful spirit and  fierce heart.

To Our Siblings

While you’re not “extended” family, you are the most constant residents of our village.

​You ​b​ore​ the brunt of the disruption, the confusion, the loss of normalcy growing up with someone like ​us. ​You learned to​ love​ reading in waiting rooms​, listened to teachers compare ​our struggles​, ​and put up with a lot of coming in second.​ But through it all, ​you’ve kept us smiling, you’ve kept us laughing, you’ve kept us humble​.​ You helped ​us be “normal” kids​, wrapped us in hugs, offered a hand to hold​, kept our secrets. And, above all, shared your love unconditionally.

Thank you for your endless patience and your generous heart. 

To anyone who’s lent a hand, offered encouragement, or spread a little cheer along our CHD path, know that your kindness has made a difference.

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