Creating a New Normal
A narrative is the story of what has happened in a person’s life. It is a construct of events created to facilitate communication, and it is influenced by emotion, perception, and motivation.
Cheryl Mattingly (2000) describes a narrative as a transformative mechanism giving importance to something that might have been otherwise forgotten. Your story is the culmination of moments that have transcended into something with ‘phenomenological weight’ connecting the past to the future solidifying its construct.
Dr. Rita Charon talks about her approach to practicing medicine which she defines as Narrative Medicine. She defines Narrative Medicine as "clinical practice fortified by the knowledge of what to do with [a patient's] story." She invites her patients to tell her what they believe she should know about them as people and she found that people had a need to share their stories. She connects with her patients through their stories and helps them navigate and cohere their illness and healing narrative.
The effect a life-changing diagnosis has on a child and on a family is quite profound. The family of an afflicted child restructures and redefines its roles in order to survive and to provide a supportive healing environment for their child.
I hope that by sharing our experiences with our son, I’ve illustrated how a family can move through a traumatic medical event and create a healthy, healing environment for all its members to persevere and thrive.
You can create your own narrative. You can create your own story.