Saturday, August 15, 2009

Flashbacks

Where do the words start? I guess where the feelings end. Not really where they end but where they spill over and out of the not so quiet corners of my mind and finally garner enough strength to make themselves heard outside of my mind, outside of myself.
I've been having flashbacks. Bad ones. I didn't even realize that is what they were, until recently. I thought the constant replaying of the moments in the doctors office when I thought Cason was dead was just, (and I use the term 'just' so lightly it is weightless) me reliving it. And it is that too. But it occurs to me that these visions, popping into my head without warning and playing themselves out, over and over again, are more than that. I am, or at least I feel, powerless to stop them from happening. They come without warning, sometimes triggered by something someone says or asks about Cason, other times all on their own.
When it happens, I am sucked back into that room, I see Cason hovering over the exam table, his body dusty and gray and limp, I don't know who is holding him, I can't see the hands under him, are they mine, are they the doctors, I don't know. I can feel the room shrinking and all I can see is him, there over the table, lifeless, and in my mind, in my heart, in that moment, he is dead. Gone from me. And I think, "That is all I got with him and now he's gone." I am cold and I am resigned. Of course my baby is dead. That is what my babies do. They die. I feel myself letting him go, saying good-bye to him. I begin the fall back into the pit of which I thought I had escaped and I don't even try to stop it. I tell myself to just let go. It's what I have to do. It's the only thing I can do.
Then I come back to the present. I shut it off. I tell myself he's alive, he's here, he's o.k.. But still, the tears come, the sadness, the idea that I was so close to losing him. It overwhelms me. The idea that it could happen again, it paralyzes me. The mere thought of witnessing anything like that ever again, cripples me. Standing in a room, watching your child die, knowing you are helpless to stop it or feeling helpless to stop it, it's terrifying. Life. Altering. Terrifying.
Even with the living, breathing baby I have, the terror of that day, of those moments won't go away. Every time I leave the house and I check my purse and the diaper bag to be sure I have no less than 3 epi pens with me, every time he makes a funny sound when he sleeps, every time he looks like he might be getting a rash, every time someone touches him without asking and I brush their kind gesture away thinking have you eaten or touched something that might kill my son? Every time. Every God Damn Time.
That is what I see.
And I don't know how to make it stop.

15 comments:

charmedgirl said...

i think after the first life altering terrifying event, after time we realize, must COME to realize, that it's permanent. it doesn't really happen immediately, when they say whatever it is they tell us which is supposed to convey "YOUR BABY IS DEAD, NAD NOW YOU MUST BIRTH IT." it doesn't really happen when we hold that dead baby. it doesn't really happen until, day after day, week and month and year after year, the alive baby doesn't appear. it happens over time, that believing in the permanence of it all.

now that you've gone through it, it sounds almost like the opposite effect...you allowed the permanence to take hold of you before it really happened. it's like the physical pain pathways; once we experience a pain physically, a pathway that sensation used in the nervous system from the injury to the brain is cleared. if you get hurt in the same spot again (you know those people who complain about how the weather makes their whatever hurt), that pain pathway is stimulated again, it has a physical memory. maybe accepting the permanence of caleb's death did that to you, and then there you were, where it nearly but not quite happened again...

remembering one is remembering the other. i think the only thing you can do is not fight it. FUCK. i mean, what the fuck? this is life and there's nothing we can do about it no matter how many fucking coping skills we gather and how goddamned PRESENT we can manage to become. that's it, i guess.

Michele said...

Dear sweet K... I can only imagine the horror of that day and how real it is once again when it plays in your head. Once you have lost a child there is not the guarantee of "my baby will always be okay". It sucks. It isnt fair. Even holding your sweet Cason, those feelings are haunting. And I am so sorry for that. So very sorry. I just wish there was something that could take our pasts and make them right... Make them full of only life and joy and hope...

I hope that one day the flashbacks go away. I hope it is a day soon. I hope that for all of us and the nightmares our minds continually play...

Big hugs...

missing_one said...

*big hugs* I wish I knew how to make them go away for you

Jess said...

I wish I had answers for you, but if I did I wouldn't have these myself. After we lost our Joel, I felt such guilt that I wasn't able to do something to save him that I was convinced I'd let some awful fate come of our older son. I remember when we went shopping a few days after we lost Joel, my husband was trying on new suits for his memorial service & I was watching our older son, who decided it'd be fun to run around the store. I became just trapped in my fears, thinking at any moment he was going to be gone & I'd never see him again. That was the first time I had a fear of losing him, but it wasn't my last. I see danger for him everywhere now, flashes of losing him & not being able to do anything. I feel like I've lost enough, I don't think I can live through anymore loss.

And then, of course, it all brings me back to my other son, the baby who we are suppose to have here with us, trying to roll over, smiling & giggling. It it just all hurts all over again.

But the flashes, they don't stop for me. I doubt they ever will.

ezra'smommy said...

I'm so sorry...the flashbacks are a bitch, no matter how you cut it..I'm sorry you have to live with this fear.

Aunt Becky said...

I get them too, K, and they're awful. I hear my doctor say over and over and over that, "Becky, there's something wrong with your baby's head." And then sometimes it's Amelia and sometimes it's my friend's baby. The one that just died of the same thing Mimi had.

I wish I had anything to say, but I can't imagine reliving that over and over again. I'm so sorry, K, I'm so sorry.

Fuck, man.

Aunt Becky said...

I get them too, K, and they're awful. I hear my doctor say over and over and over that, "Becky, there's something wrong with your baby's head." And then sometimes it's Amelia and sometimes it's my friend's baby. The one that just died of the same thing Mimi had.

I wish I had anything to say, but I can't imagine reliving that over and over again. I'm so sorry, K, I'm so sorry.

Fuck, man.

CLC said...

I don't know what to tell you, other than I am sorry. On one hand, I can't imagine being in that room with you and on the other hand, I can imagine it very well. I live in constant fear, and I haven't had any experience like yours with Cason. I hope that with time the flashbacks go away. I used to get them while pregnant with Denis of the day Hannah died and my therapist told me to live in the present. Don't look back and don't look forward. Just live in the present. It's alot easier said than done.

janis said...

I so damn freaking hear you. I have become the paranoid mom I used to snicker at. I keep thinking she's only on loan. ((hugs))

Which Box said...

I am so sorry for this. It truly sounds like a form of PTSD. I hope you can find ways as CLC says of living in the present.

loribeth said...

OK, I'm no dr, but I agree with Which Box -- sounds like PTSD to me. There's a PTSD treatment called EMDR that my IF counsellor used to use (not on me) that she swore helped a lot people. You may want to look into that. (((hugs)))

Hope's Mama said...

Just catching up. I am so sorry you have to live with this fear. As if having buried one child wasn't enough, but to have come so close again. Just not fair.
Thinking of you guys.
xo

Julia said...

I am trying to catch up these days (sadly it's going v slowly), so I am way late to this. Just wanted to say that I am very sorry you are living with this. But also that I too immediately thought "PTSD." A friend of mine who studied military guys with PTSD once explained to me some of the key criteria for PTSD, particularly the part where you seem to function ok and can describe the precipitating event, but can't control how/when memories trigger and what they do to you. So yeah, sounds a little similar here. Do you have a professional you trust with whom you can speak about this?

Miryam (mama o' the matrices) said...

oh, just reading, I've got that tightening chest & throat feeling.
The flashbacks hurt. But the pain's worth respecting, even if the bloody things do seem a little opportunistic at times. I find myself tripping over mine way too often, and they've all ended with bent/battered/cracked kid so far. Not the same. But oh, that moment when they shove their way into the moment at hand, and shut down reality just long enough to cut.

I can only nod in chorus here: something so painful is well worth some help. PTSD or otherwise, a good, worthy-of-trust professional could really help.

Heather said...

As much as this is not what you want to hear sometimes time just takes time. For me, what helped was writing about things and trying to process everything.

I hope things get better for you soon.