Monday, April 13, 2015

It has been long time...

I know it has been a long time... I honestly have not had anything interesting to write about. I have been happy and busy and my creative juices just have not been flowing. Unfortunately I have something to write about today and it is a very painful topic. It is regarding the death of a child. I want to give fair warning for those who may not want to continue reading... cause this is tough.

His name is Michael and he was 10 years old. His hair was a dirty blonde with a hint of strawberry. The first time I held his hand was on his death bed. We had only ever spoken about 5 words to one another at the get together's of mutual friends, yet there I was, in a hospital room holding his icy cold hand, humming to him and periodically petting his head when he left this world. I am sure I am one of the last people this child would have expected to be there when he died, I am SURE nobody expected it to be happening so soon. The whole experience was surreal.

Michael had a heart condition that I still do not know the specifics of. His mother has been a friend of my husband's for almost 20 years, so when M was admitted to the hospital with serious complications our close group of friends were told almost immediately. We rallied around this single mother who was by her son's side almost every minute for over a week as the doctors tried everything to save this boy. He had emergency surgery, then we waited, test after test was performed, then we waited some more. Finally his mother was told M would need a heart transplant. He was put on the transplant list and again we waited. The whole time we were all praying, thinking good thoughts, raising money for the medical expenses for the transplant that M was sure to get... but then his kidneys started to fail...

When I woke up Tuesday morning I was devastated to read the latest update on Michael's condition. He had coded twice through the night and after running a brain scan it was found that he had severe brain trauma and would not pull through. I cried at work and made arrangements to leave early so I could go support M's mother and say goodbye. Expecting only to be there for a short time as to not overwhelm M's mother, just show here we were there for her, I asked my parents to pick up Nugget and watch her for an hour.

Upon arrival at the hospital we were all hit with the reality that this child would not be with us much longer. His mother was distraught of course, and after a long week of ups, downs and lots of waiting she just could not bear to watch her child die. She mentioned that the grandparents would be staying with him as he passed, but we could not find the grandparents. I can't explain this feeling I had, but I could not leave until I knew for sure this child would have someone to hold his hand. It was like an extreme, acute anxiety. as the mother said her excruciating goodbye we could still not find the grandparents. It turns out they had left the hospital and they were not planning on being there at the end. (**I just want to say that I hold no judgement towards this family or how they were grieving. M's mother was so emotionally broken and she did everything she could do. I ask anyone reading this not to look at her in a negative light, cause I was there and her love for this boy was never in question. She is good mom. period) When we got the information about the grandparents leaving I asked M's mom if she wanted anyone to stay. No matter how anxious I was feeling, I would never go against a mother's wishes, if she would have been uncomfortable with me staying I would have followed her out and prayed from the lobby. She said that if we felt like we could (My husband and I) she would be thankful if we stayed.

I stayed. There was no hesitation. I couldn't leave, no matter how much I wanted to and I did want to. I wanted to go home and hug my daughter. I wanted to send this boy good thoughts, go hug my friends and cry. I stayed. I went into my inner mom mode, I told myself to be calm and steady for this boy so he could pass away in peace. I would breakdown later. My husband and my BIL stayed as well.

 His hand was already cold from poor circulation. I held it softly. His blue finger tips tucked between palms. I wanted to sing him a lullaby, it was a strange urge. Like I was trying to calm a baby, it is what I do when I need to soothe my own sick child... but I couldn't sing without choking up, so I hummed quietly. I am not sure if anyone else could even hear it. The doctors and nurses were amazing. Very kind and gentle. They told us everything they were doing and what to expect. They kept a respectful distance after the machines were turned off. We stayed there until the doctor said he was gone, I had already felt the warmth leave his brow by that point. I knew he had passed before the doctor's confirmation.

When we walked out of the room there were other families in the hall. Some were laughing or talking about dinner. Others were solemn like us. Where do you go from here? When you witness something like this it is hard to bring yourself back to the little realities. I had to call my mom and check in on Nugget. My mom (who I had updated earlier via text message) told me she thought I had done a wonderful thing and wanted to make sure I was ok. Nugget was already in bed at their house, no need to worry about picking her up, they had it all handled. My father took the phone and told me he was proud of me. I did not know what I did would cause this kind of reaction. I was just trying to comfort a child and a give a mother peace of mind, but that is the reaction I got from a lot of people who found out about my experience.

I don't feel like I did anything amazing. I feel like I did the only thing I could do. I was actually afraid I was stepping on some toes... M's mom hugged me the next time I saw her and thanked me again for everything I had done. It was hard and it was sad... and I would always make the same choice.

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