My last post sounds so past tense, as if this grief is, at least mostly, behind me. I suppose that was how I was feeling as I wrote it, for it has changed and I had had a string of good days, but those knock out days I mentioned? Today was one, and it has left me weary.
I don't even know what got me going today. All I know is I was driving and next thing I knew I was crying.
Maybe it was my mom's call to see if I was planning anything for Henry's birthday this year.
Or passing the cemetery—again—without stopping.
Or the missing pansies I had planted at the head of his grave that Brian reported had been torn up.
Or that we just changed the calendar to May and Henry's picture, my all-time favorite picture of him, is there.
Or that we were headed to a birthday party for his cousins—
And that I should be planning a birthday party too, one with two candles on the cake.
So I cried off and on all the way there. At the party, somebody pointed out the one-year old running back and forth across the kitchen, his dad following him. "Watch that . . . that's what you'll be doing next year!" And most likely I will be, though there's no guarantees. But more importantly I already should be.
All last year, I relived and processed what I had been through with Henry. I saw it as a necessary part of my healing. I walked through all the time I had with him again, until almost the very end. The bitter end came during Kathleen's birth and the days immediately following it. So I turned forward instead of back. I looked at life, instead of death.
But tonight for some reason, I was drawn back to Henry's last days, to the heavy, breathless feeling I had as they got basic info from me at the ER, to images of them trying unsuccessfully to get an IV into him and finally pulling out what looked like a drill to gain access in his leg. Seriously, I thought I had seen it all with him, and then they drilled into his leg.
And then I was in his room in the PICU. The machines started beeping. I had been around beeping for months. I knew when an IV pump was almost done from one that was done. I knew the difference between a feeding pump that was done and one that wasn't working right. I could tell when a sensor just wasn't pick up properly or when Henry's movement caused an alarm to go off. I knew when to worry. But this was a different hospital with different equipment and I didn't know the sounds. All I knew was that I didn't like the sound of it. I walked calmly to the desk and said that I didn't know the beeps but was Henry okay. And the doctor looked up. And then she moved very quickly. I didn't go to him right away. I stood back, out of the way to give room for doctors and nurses to work. I stood against the wall and I started to sing to him, quietly sending forth the thread of connection between him and me. My mother said, "I can't hear you. I don't know what you are saying." I shooed her away, taking only half a breath to mutter that I was singing to Henry, afraid to let that connection slip.
They made room for me at the bed, and I watched them pump him full of drugs and give him chest compressions, watching the monitors to see how it was working. I sang through it all, but I knew. So I waited. Waited for somebody to say, "Time of death . . ." but they never did.
I watched my baby die. I held his foot and sang to him of all the people who love him while he left. I told him it was okay to go.
I still have moments of disbelief. This is me. This is my life. This is my baby boy who died.
My grief is still very much present tense, despite what my last post suggests. It is very present and very forceful today. It blindsided me and left me with a familiar dull, weary feeling. So I'll go up now and hug Henry's yellow blanket and try to sleep, as I have so many nights. And in the morning I'll wake up and still miss him, but I'll smile for my baby girl even if my eyes are sad. And we'll go on.