0 In Advocacy/ Burn Awareness/ Mighty Timothy

AN OPEN LETTER TO THOSE STARING AT MY CHILD

timothy wearing stop staring shirt

You were not there when my Child’s life changed in just a split second. When that utter chaos and terror filled our home. You were not there when we were sitting by his bedside, unsure of how things would turn out, begging God to let us trade places with him. You haven’t been there when we’ve shed tears, worked our way through what feels like an endless recovery regime and sometimes questioned if we’re strong enough to do this.

Then why, for some strange reason, are you there when we go out. At the moments we want to give him glances of just freedom and fun. Childhood. You are there when we take him to Gymnastics, which is really good for his recovery, and you lather your child up in Hand Sanitizer as though she just got sneezed on by a giant Ogre. You are there when we go to the grocery store and focus more on him than your groceries. As does your Child. The stares. Until we make eye contact, then you scurry away.

We see those faces. The stares. I’m just thankful that he doesn’t yet. He has no idea about what you are doing. Which is good, because it’s rude. He will though, eventually. He will notice the odd looks, and that thought breaks my heart. In a world where diversity has such a strong voice, you still make it seem like it’s a bad thing. There is a simple solution to what’s happening here:

Stop Staring.

See, I told you it’s pretty simple. But the difference it makes is significant. Go stand in front of the mirror. Close your eyes, think of something gross, let your face react accordingly, now open your eyes. See that face? It’s what how we’ve seen you look at our Child. Pretty painful, hey? I understand that you don’t know what’s happening. After all, you haven’t been there. I don’t expect you to get into our heads and know the whole story. It’s impossible, there’s so much to it. But do you really think giving that disgusted glare is going to help anything?

But I don’t know what’s going on. What’s wrong with him? Is he contagious? What happened?

Familiar Questions? I would be curious too. You don’t see scars every day. Hey, guess what. Ask. He has a story, it’s a painful one, but it’s there. I don’t mind questions. I would rather get those than stares, for his sake, please. I know you’ll tell me it’s awkward and uncomfortable to ask what’s wrong, but how much more uncomfortable do you think it will be for him when he notices someone staring at him? And guess what, I can almost guarantee you that you will learn something useful from asking.

So as we approach these warmer days and his scars will become more visible, please do me a favour; Stop Staring.

Oh, and this isn’t just meant for us. It’s meant for anyone who has something that makes them stand out from the crowd, which, guess what, includes you. There is something about you too that some people will think is worth starting at. How does that make you feel?

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