This I Believe

Christine - Everett, Washington
Entered on August 22, 2006
Age Group: 30 - 50

I believe in purpose. This belief started when I was a child and continued on throughout my life. I believe events happen for a reason, and that life isn’t about what we go through but what we learn along the way.

Like all parents, I had hopes and dreams for my son before he was born. I considered the awesome responsibility I had as his mother – to teach him the lessons in life that would help him to grow up to be a good man.

When my son was severely injured at birth due to medical negligence, my hopes and dreams came shattering down around me. There seemed to be no meaning in his senseless injury; I could find no purpose in what had happened.

Ian’s injury changed my life. I had to slow down; I had to live life day by day because I didn’t know how long he would be with me.

Suddenly, I found myself being defined as “Victim of medical malpractice” or “Parent of a disabled child”. But could I find way to make something good come out of this new life? All I knew was that I needed to keep a strong grasp on two things that were slowly leaving me – my dignity and my sanity.

I joined the fight against tort reform and caps on the awards to injured patients. I told my story publicly and helped write legislation aimed at patient safety. I began teaching future healthcare providers about the importance of patient safety and I began working on a new program to train providers how to avoid patient injuries, and how to learn from our mistakes so we don’t repeat them.

When Ian died 2 years ago I realized something I hadn’t been able to see during the four years he lived. Our roles were reversed – he was sent here to teach ME lessons in life, lessons that have helped me to become a better person.

While my belief in purpose was shaken for a time, it has been fully restored, even strengthened. Though I wouldn’t wish the experience of losing a child on anyone, I am thankful for what I have learned about myself, for the time I had with a beautiful child, and for having my eyes opened to the things that are really important in this life.