I am not that strong. Tears threaten to control me. Some days have me down on my knees, forcing my submission. Some days make you question everything you know about yourself. Today was one of those days.
To be honest, I don’t enjoy the holidays. I’m sure, in part, it goes back to the awful family melt-downs that were my childhood. But even more than that, ever since Nathaniel, it always feels like something is missing. It doesn’t really matter if everyone is together, there is still a hole for me. I go through the motions, I buy gifts and decorate the house. It is for others to enjoy, not me. I do enjoy Christmas morning, watching the boys’ faces light up with delight. But I hold my breath until it’s over, waiting impatiently to take that damn tree down.
Thanksgiving is usually ‘my’ holiday. My dad and older kids come down for the extended weekend. I cook. We laugh. We bicker. We connect. It’s usually one of only 3 or 4 visits a year that we get to see each other. But, not this year. The pilgrimage will have to wait for another time.
Instead, my mother in law
was roped into kindly offered to cook Thanksgiving dinner. I wanted to see the boys and was looking forward to leaving my hospital vigil, if only for a couple hours. Last night, I suspected though, I would not make it out of the hospital today, and I was right.
David has been having a rough week and this morning, was no exception. Quite possibly worse, in fact, than previous days. The weather was dreary, as well. Cold and pouring down rain. I needed to stay here. I couldn’t leave. Every whimper he makes, breaks my heart a little bit more. The GVHD has progressed to blisters. Imagine 80% of your body with 2nd degree burns. Painful, torn skin. Blistery sores. Oozing wounds. That’s what Capt Snuggles is enduring right now. There will be no snuggles for him, not for a very long time.
My heart aches, because I can’t do anything to comfort him. How can a mother not comfort her child? I want to scoop him up and love on him. But every move tears more delicate skin, causing him pain and increasing his risk for infection.I fought back my tears most of the morning. green gorillas, green gorillas, green gorillas… I repeat it in my head to hold back the rush of tears.
Break down is not an option.
Once he finally drifted off into a fitful sleep, I found myself wandering the empty corridors. The silent halls are somewhat eerie in the middle of the day. Was everyone at home? Weren’t there any visitors for all the other kiddos here? I ended up at the chapel. I know, weird place for me to end up. But it was empty and quiet and I finally allowed myself to cry……
I was drawn to the guest book. Family members writing prayers for their children. So many different hands, several different languages, all so heartbreakingly the same,…please heal my child….
I could not add my name to the list, it is not logical to make such a request. My Faith in myself is shaken, yes. I question my ability to continue on, to be what I am needed to be. So how do I put Faith into something that can’t logically exist? And if it does exist, how do I put Faith into something that created this whole damn mess in the first place?
I do not find peace in the chapel. I leave, quite possibly feeling worse than when I entered. The hospital is so quiet, you’d think it was 2am, instead of 2pm. I am not hungry but I feel obliged to eat on this day of gluttony.
I do not feast on turkey and mashed potatoes, instead I buy chicken tenders and banana pudding in the hospital cafeteria. I do not finish it, I am not comforted by food. So I head back, feeling no better for having taken an hour or so away from his bedside.
It hits me that I am exhausted. That bone-wrenching tiredness that doesn’t go away, even if I manage to sleep, I will still be exhausted. But David is sleeping well, finally, so I head to the RMH for a respite. I fall asleep as soon as I lay down, thankful for the gloomy weather that makes naps so irresistible.
When I return from my nap, 3 hours later, David has spiked another fever. It will be a long night, much like days past. While, I have no new perspective or enlightenment. No solutions for my weariness. I still have a babe that needs me.
Even if all I can do is sit here, waiting impatiently for the chance to snuggle him.