The Red Dress Club

I‘m new to The Red Dress Club, so this is my first offering. I wrote a longer version of this post a week ago. I edited it a bit and used this week’s prompt that asked that you begin your piece with the words, “I could never have imagined” and end it with “Then the whole world shifted.”

That Monday Mourning

I could never have imagined that morning would be his last.

It had been a long night. And all I knew was that his lungs were no longer working.

There had been talk of the oscillator, but they had tried to hold off as long as possible. By 6am, they couldn’t wait any longer. There was no choice left but to put him on life support.

The oscillator is a horrible apparatus, it is a piston based machine that creates constant motion. It caused David’s entire body to vibrate non-stop. It was a jarring presence in the peaceful atmosphere I tried so hard to hold on to.

I needed a break and since I hadn’t left to take a shower the day before, I walked to the RMH for a quick shower. I’d only gotten 2 hours of sleep – I needed a boost for the day ahead.

At 9:10, just as I was getting ready to come back from the RMH, one of the nurses called and said the words I wasn’t prepared for “I think you need to come back, now.”

I ran.

I dodged through the people in the concourse, I swept past the guards stationed in front of the elevators – by now they no longer asked for proof that I was allowed up – and I’m sure with my wild-eyed, frantic appearance – they knew I needed to hurry through.

I tried to catch my breath in the elevator, I was scared and alone. I knew I may have to face this all by myself – my husband was an hour and a half away. I took a deep breath and walked into the throng of people that had gathered outside our room.

I watched as they worked over him, the images are so firmly etched in my head that I see them whenever I close my eyes. I’d seen them bag him before, but never with the urgency I saw at that moment. The Attending doctor pulled me into the hallway to talk. Ironically this is the same Attending that admitted us, all those months ago. We hadn’t seen him since.

He explained to me that there comes a time to decide. To differentiate between doing things for him and doing things to him. We were no longer doing thingsfor him. I understood and all I could say was, My husband’s not here, can we hang on until he arrives?

Then he coded.

His heart stopped. I replay the words over and over again in my head, his heart stopped and then suddenly, with an increased frenetic pace, the Attending began chest compressions. Again and again and again, I wanted to shout Enough! Enough already! Please stop! But I didn’t. I let them continue, his Daddy wasn’t there and I couldn’t let him go by myself.

Some how, they brought him back. Not David, not really, not my Capt Snuggles. I think he took flight the minute his heart stopped.  But they kick-started his heart and kept blowing air into his lungs until his Daddy arrived.

Which he did shortly, by now it was almost 11am. The doctors gathered and ushered us into a small conference room. They said everything I already knew. I looked at each one of them telling me all these things and it didn’t matter.

All I could think of was that in a few minutes I would be allowed to finally hold my son and it would be the last time, and it wouldn’t be enough.

It would never be enough.

We returned to the room. They brought in a rocking chair and I held him. I held him while that awful oscillator vibrated and vibrated and vibrated and finally, I told my Hub to get the nurse – I was ready, I wanted, needed them to turn off that awful machine, just so I could hold him in peace.

They came. The drips keeping his heart pumping were stopped. That awful machine was turned off and they removed the breathing tube from his nose. I was finally able to look at my sweet boys’ face without the tape and tubes.

He was finally free of it all.

And I held him.

I held him when the Attending came in to listen for his heartbeat. I held him when the Attending called out 12:15. I held him while they left us alone and I cried. I cried for all the hurt and pain that he had endured. I cried for all the lost hope and the pure senselessness of the whole situation. I cried for the boy that would never grow old and I cried for the emptiness and brokenness that would haunt me for the rest of my days.

I cried until I thought I was empty and then I cried some more, just like a cut that starts to clot, but if you bump it, it starts to bleed again.

I bent down and kissed his forehead, more tears than I ever thought possible, streaming down my face.

I had to leave, it was more than time. It may very well be the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. To put one foot in front of the other and walk out of that hospital room. To walk out and leave my Capt Snuggles behind. I did it, though. I walked out of that hospital room.

Then the whole world shifted.


43 thoughts on “The Red Dress Club

  1. There are no words. I am so, so sorry for your loss. For what you and your precious Captain Snuggles had to endure. I am grateful you had some time with him, I’m sure his life touched more people than you’ll ever know.

    Thank you for sharing such a personal moment with us. I hope his memory will help sustain you.

  2. Too overcome to make sense here.

    I’ll be back, though.

  3. Tears fill my eyes. Thank you for sharing your story. I can’t imagine such heartache.

  4. Oh my. I can’t begin to imagine, and I can’t possibly say anything here that would be important enough….
    I’ll just say thank you for sharing your story. I won’t forget this one.

  5. I’m crying. There aren’t enough words in the world to say how sorry I am for your loss, how much I admire your bravery in being there for your son and making the decision to let go, and in telling your story.

    God bless you and the rest of your family.

  6. I have NO idea what it is like to lose a child so I won’t say I know how you feel, but I’ve been sitting here thinking of this prompt all afternoon. You see, 3 weeks ago I couldn’t imagine that I’d never talk to my dad again. And yet, that is my reality and the pain has been unbearable at times. I stumble through the days, mindlessly doing menial chores and I sit in the quiet and I can’t breathe. I will go on..I must, but my daddy died and then the whole world shifted.

    Gentle Hugs to you xoxo

  7. This is heartbreaking. Words fail me, because it is unimaginable to me. Thank you so much for sharing; as gut-wrenching as it is to read, you are the one who took the courage and the strength to write this and share your pain. Although it probably seems so very little, my thoughts are with you and your whole family.

  8. No parent should outlive their child.
    I am so profoundly saddened by the fact that you have.
    I don’t know what to say other than I am so terribly sorry. For you…your family…and Capt Snuggles.
    So very sorry…
    Thank you for sharing this moment with us. Truly.

  9. I’m so sorry. Just sending you all healing peaceful energy, that you can make it through this time.

  10. This was so hard to read, but I’m so glad you shared it. The moment you got to finally hold Captain Snuggles was beautiful and heartbreaking. Thank you for letting us see into this moment with you.

  11. I can only send my love to you and yours.

  12. I keep starting to type and the words just don’t come. So very, very sad. Beautifully written, but so painful. I can only imagine the pain. Your comparison of crying, then stopping, then starting again like a cut that’s been bumped is so powerful and so true.

    Thank you for sharing this very personal moment with us.

  13. The tears streaming down my face right now and the comments of the previous visitors are a testament to the fact that you have so beautifully conveyed your pain. So sad. Take care.

  14. I’m overcome with emotion just reading this. I am so sorry for your loss. I have boys of my own and I can’t imagine. Ironically today, I was just thinking how does a parent overcome something like the loss of a child? How does one go on after that? You are living proof that you can, and that one can share about it. You write beautifully. Thank you for sharing such a personal moment.

  15. You and yours are in my thoughts, especially your angel Capt. Snuggles. I’m so very sorry for your loss and pain. So very sorry.

  16. Toni

    Thank you for sharing your life with us. My prayers are with you always. May God give you comfort.

  17. What a wonderful way to use the prompt – it’s so heartbreakingly appropriate. I read the original version of this story and it’s no less poignant in this version. Still think of you often, and still so very sorry.

  18. I came across your blog a few weeks ago somehow. It was probably through a comment, a guest post, you know how the rabbit hole works. I read through most of your posts, but didn’t follow and then couldn’t find you again.

    When I saw you on the link up tonight, I was happy that I “found” you again. I so enjoyed your posts and your writing.

    And now? My heart aches for you and your family. I wish I had words of comfort, but all I can say is that you and Captain Snuggles touched my heart. Your posts are so beautifully written and you are so incredibly brave to bare your heart at such a fragile time.

    My thoughts go to you.

  19. I have no words.
    I’m so sorry for your loss.
    Your pain.
    Your heartache.
    Thank you for sharing.

  20. The image of that machine vibrating David’s body so relentlessly is making my teeth ache. I too am so sorry for your loss and admire not just your strength but the strength of your entire family.

  21. No one should have to bury a child. I am so sorry for your loss. I hope you are finding peace.

  22. Thank you for sharing your story and loss. Prayers or thoughts (depending on which way you roll) to you and your family.

  23. I cannot say anything that will ease your pain but I am so terribly sorry for your loss and all you’ve endured. You are in my prayers. Thank you for sharing your story.


  24. I can think of nothing worse than losing a child. This was beautifully told. I read the original version, and this one touched me just as much. I bawled. God bless his sweet little soul.

  25. Your words took me to a place I hope I will never have to be. I have never cried reading a blog post before but my heart is just aching for you. You are courageous to share your story and I hope you find strength in the journey.

  26. Powerful. I could almost feel the machine vibrating through your words. I’m sorry for your loss, although that seems so inappropriate to say in the face of what happened.

  27. I’m all choked up and can barely see the computer screen. I cannot imagine what you have been through. I am so deeply sorry for your loss. I am in awe of you for sharing it here and I hope that many people read it. Thank you for this story, this gift.

  28. I can’t imagine a pain deeper than going through what you and your husband went through, saying goodbye to Captain Snuggles. I’m tremendously sad for you and thankful that you shared your heartbreaking beautiful words. Your family is most definitely in my prayers….

  29. Painfully beautiful, my dear. Honestly and truly. I felt each and every word reach out and grab hold of my heart. Thank you for being so brave to share your story. 🙂

  30. I am numb for you. I am so so terribly sorry for your loss. Much love and strength as you continue to move forward. Step by step. Slowly. With loads of support.

  31. I honestly have no words.
    I’m so, so sorry. And those words do nothing for you.

  32. God, I don’t know what to say..but I’m crying just picturing my own son and I know nothing will ease this pain until he is in your arms again. I’m soo sooo sorry!

  33. I am so sorry. Thank you for sharing this, you are a strong woman.

  34. I’ve been staring at the screen wishing I could find some words to share with you to ease the pain but know there are none. But by putting your thoughts to words, you have not only touched us but immortalized “Captain Snuggles” .. you endured the hardest thing a parent ever could {or should} and I hope that you find comfort in the memories. Thanks you for sharing. I for one am turning off my computer now and spending time with my “babies” (16, 20).
    “When angels visit us, we do not hear the rustle of wings, nor feel the feathery touch..but we know their presence by the love they created in our hearts.”

  35. My love and prayers to you.

  36. I am crying for you right now. No mother should ever have to endure this.

  37. My heart is breaking for you right now. I wish words existed that would suffice. I also wish you never had to experience this. I’m just without words. Sending you an enormous hug.

  38. Oh Amy, I am just bawling. I hate that oscillator, hate it, every time I heard it after we lost Hadley I felt so sick and now, I feel it all over so again for you and the unfairness of it all. I am so sorry for your pain and the emptiness you have yet again, for another child. I could go on and on but my words will never be enough. Just know I am here for you always and so sorry for the pain you are walking through.

  39. Just want to wrap my arms around you. Just want you to feel the love from this writing community envelope you as I know it is. Just got out of a Tweet Chat in which the topic was about being brave as writers and writing the things we think we cannot write. You did that beautifully. What a gift this post is to all readers!

  40. Pingback: Sunday Surf: The Best of What I Read This Week

  41. Hi again. Just wanted to let you know that I included this post in my Sunday Surf today and recommended it as the best of what I read this week. 😉
    Hope you’re having a nice weekend!
    Charise @ I Thought I Knew Mama

  42. Wow, you brought back memories for me when my younger sister passed away. I know in my heart that someday you will see your son again.

  43. I know that you don’t know me that well — or really, possibly even at all — but like many other bloggers, I do know about you, and I don’t think I’ve ever gotten the opportunity to comment on your blog.

    I heard about this when it happened, and I felt so guilty about not being able to come on and comment and send my support, but I’m able to now, and reading this, my heart breaks anew for you. I had trouble reading the whole post through the tears.

    My thoughts and prayers for you and your family. If you ever want to talk or whatever — even if it’s just to hear a really corny joke, cuz I have a lot of those — you can always email or Tweet me. I’m around all the time (probably too much). *hugs*

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