Austin**•.¸♥¸.•**not-Texas, Texas, USA
May 28
♪♫ ♥ Diva ♥ ♪♫♥
Mom, partner, listener, healer of wounds large and small, dog-petter, writer, pie baker, star shooter, wine appreciator, hungry muse, part-time pirate and pole dancer.


NOVEMBER 18, 2010 3:54PM

Her Depth of Mourning

Rate: 19 Flag

I am dozing in the bland, pretend recliner in BoyChild’s ICU room when J and my parents enter. They take their places around his bed, murmuring words of love and encouragement. BoyChild might appear rude in his lack of response but the tubes running in and out of him provide an excuse. Before this accident, he was rarely still so the blanket silence covering him seems abnormal.

      GirlChild comes in a few minutes later with her dad. They also take up station around BoyChild’s bed. The five people gathered around his bed acknowledge one another but only GirlChild and J really connect. Their bodies lean in towards one another, touching, supporting. I remain seated in part because I am exhausted and in part because the small room does not lend itself to 6 people hovering around the bed.

        The Friendly Nurse comes in. Although we have only been here 4 days, she has proven to be the most efficient and most friendly. Tonight, she meets my parents, acknowledges the rest of us, and then sets about her duties. As she checks the tubes and machinery leading into and out of BoyChild, she educates us about the function of each tube. She is matter-of-fact but not impersonal. She makes eye contact as she explains and invites questions. Finished with her medical tour of BoyChild, she removes her latex gloves with a snap and stands at the door.

        “If I were a family member, I would want to know the truth and so I tell families the truth. When EMS got to BoyChild, he was unconscious and in our view, that is a bad thing because we cannot measure certain things that help us predict recovery. One eye did not dilate at all when presented with light and the other eye barely dilated. He was immediately intubated so we do not know if he can breathe on his own.”

        I listen to her as I scan the others in the room. J has her frowny look on as she diligently takes in the information. My parents look like proverbial deer in headlights,  standing still in shock and fear. His dad continues to mess with BoyChild in small ways, brushing his hair off of his forehead, adjusting the tubing running from his mouth. It is GirlChild that jerks me into the enormity of the present. Her eyes are wide, her face pale. As the nurse talks, GirlChild inches her way around from the head of the bed where she had stationed herself initially.  She seems to be creeping around the bed in slow motion.

        “He had a hematoma at the base of his skull, the place where the brain stem is. The brain stem controls all involuntary behaviors such as breathing and swallowing. One concern in traumatic brain injury is that the swelling of the brain will in fact push the brain into the brain stem.” She pauses, “if that happens, death will occur.”

        I am sitting but I feel as though I am falling. I feel a rush of breath leave me involuntarily as though a weight has been shoved onto me.

        “We don’t know if this will happen. But if it was me, I would want to know.”  She turns to leave the room, pausing to pump anti-bacterial lotion onto her hand.  “Call me if you need anything,” she says as she leaves the room.

        When I was eight, I developed a chronic cough. Sitting in an examining room with the doctor and my mother, he stated, “It will probably go away eventually but our current option is to put her in a room filled with water”.  My anxiety mushroomed as I imagined myself trying to breathe in a room of water, wondering if they left a little room at the top, wondering if I would have to use a straw to suck air from the space between the ceiling and the water. Not breathing would surely make me stop coughing but I began to cry at the thought of enduring such a treatment...

        I feel that way now. No one moves. No one except GirlChild. She is making crab-like movements around the bed until she is standing next to my chair. I lift my arm and put it around her waist. In one fluid movement she goes from standing next to me to being in my lap. Once secured there she pushes her face into my shoulder and then begins to cry.

        Her tears begin slowly, a sniffle, a hiccup and then she is sobbing. She wails with the grief of the room. She grieves her brother, keening and wailing her mourning to the world. She and I clutch one another and I take her in as though she has returned to my womb. I hold her with my soul. I believe she is crying for all of us, that her youth knows not the need for denial, for pretense, for hopes that may be false.

        I had called her counselor and her favorite teacher at school, telling them of the accident and asking them to look out for her. She came to the hospital that day in a fury because she felt her privacy, her right to deal with this in her own way had been compromised. “This is my life!” she insisted. But now, she has been hit with the brutal truth that families are connected in primal ways. Threaded together, we are dependent on one another for survival. GirlChild now sees that survival threatened and the crush of reality washes over her.

        I feel her hot tears. Her sobs are slowing, losing their steam, but she remains pressed into me. I do what any mother would, I hold her and I rock back and forth in a bland, pretend recliner.


This is a continuation of BoyChild's story and his recovery from TBI. 

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I cannot even imagine. I just can't. To see your child like that.
I have been through a lot with my youngest but never anything like this.
Rated with tears and hugs
The physical and emotional survival on this journey here is something else. You are one strong woman, my psyche. And what a sweet photo.
"I hold her with my soul."
The emotions ran from that room directly into mine. I am with GirlChild.
Oh they can't have names...telling of this seems so cold and so brave. So honest! >r
Reading this, I felt like I was falling too, while sitting down.
So beautiful and so sad. I'm in tears.
I am so sorry for everyone's pain and I don't know what to say. I wish you well and will follow your story as it unfolds. Thank you for telling us. rated for courage
You convey the emotions of that moment so beautifully--the pain and helplessness, and most particularly, your daughter's anguish and terror.
i'm glad to see you're writing about your daughter and her part in the drama that was your son's accident and injury - we haven't heard much about her. i know from my own writing that some important people don't show up in the story at the beginning, and i feel that way about your girlchild. it's an incredibly good piece, drema. thank you.
"...families are connected in primal ways. Threaded together, we are dependent on one another for survival."
My God, Drema, this is a truth so powerful it stopped me dead in my tracks. I had to literally stop reading and go back and read it again and again, so strong was my reaction to it.
I've said it before, I'll say it again - your strength is amazing. All my love to you and God bless all of you as you continue walking out this incredible journey.
Please give my love to J.
Love you much,
This is such a raw story here. I am glad you are wriing it again here.
It hits me deep in my gut.
I don't want to imagine how I would hold up under this.
"But now, she has been hit with the brutal truth that families are connected in primal ways. Threaded together, we are dependent on one another for survival." I have only come to understand this since having my own family. I would not have known it before. Your writing is straight from the mother's soul. ~r
Hard to read, harder to endure. Thank you for the writing that has shown us this pain. R
Linda--thank you for your sincere wishes

Scarlett--it is a sweet photo, isn't it? taken before this all happened

Dr. Spud--you always get the undercurrent

tg within--not sure what you mean by no names, I use nicknames here but don't mean that to be cold
Bellwether--you got it

Alysa--thank you for being here

Rosycheeks--I appreciate your reading and following

sophieh--it was hard to write, thank you
femme--yes, it was time to bring her in. but she needed to be able to tell me it was okay. this was a hard piece to write, being in the room with my only two children, both horribly damaged

Kim--as you well know, we do what we have to. I'm glad something caught you so strongly with this. I love you too.

Mission--yes, OS helps like putting a leech on an inflammation---hard but necessary. thanks for being here

Joan--thank you, I thought you might get this

Sheila--yes, hard to write, read, and endure but thank you for being here
Oh Drema, so hard to read. I can't imagine having to go through this as a mother. I too love how you bring Girl child into the story.
"She and I clutch one another and I take her in as though she has returned to my womb. I hold her with my soul"
I especially love this: "her youth knows not the need for denial, for pretense, for hopes that may be false." This makes me take a deep breath, it is such a nightmare. But I can see this room, I can see these people, I can cringe imagining an eight-year-old afraid of not breathing, & then growing up, back at the scary hospital, except this time it's her child & she's afraid of HIM not breathing -- ever. Beautifully written, emotionally nailed.
You leave me in tears as I feel her pain/ your pain so well and can see you doing what mothers have done since the beginning of time, rocking your baby. This was just incredible writing from your heart, your soul.
Thanks for the PM. I've not been here much, but I do want to see how you're writing this very powerful story.
So real and heartbreaking. ..
Having recently sat helpless while my husband nearly died in the hospital, I felt this. And I felt again my lack of trust in the universe. I know this makes no sense -- trust is irrelevant when in comes to the universe -- but it's the thought that terrifies us all.