i remember it all so vividly. like it really was only yesterday. i found out that i was going to be a mother. me. a mother. my husband brad and i had only been married a year and some change and here i was 22 and preggo with what was to become the greatest journey of my life.
my greatest love.
my greatest pain.
all wrapped up in one beautiful 7lb 12 ounce little joy my husband named Conner Reed Jones.
Man i was a nervous wreck. Handing him to me after a c-section two weeks before his due date, because he’d stopped moving, the amniotic fluid was getting dangerously low and with his health concerns (only knew of prune belly then) they didn’t want him to labor. didn’t know if he’d be able to handle that.
Scrubbing my hands as hard as I could just to get into the NICU to meet him after our brief encounter the day prior.
Hooked up to monitors and c-pap…my heart outside of my body.
perfect in everyway.
i knew the fight that was ahead of him.
but never in a million years did i ever see the possibility of him losing his fight.
I knew the odds were against him, but i also knew there was always room for a miracle.
Now i think about where we are now. where i am. emotionally, physically, spiritually, day to day, hour to hour, minute by precious minute. life as i knew it to be is done. the old sarah isn’t alive anymore. she doesn’t exist. i am a new person, in every single way I’ve changed. I don’t have the security and comfort of what my dreams used to be. i no longer believe that any of us are immune to losing a child. i’ve seen firsthand how a life can go from being afraid of losing a child, to losing him and then completley shattered of a person thats left in the wake of it all. it’s a nightmare.
if grieving death was a disease, it would send you to the ICU. You’d be in such immense pain from head to toe, but mostly in your chest that you would be unable to walk. to talk. to eat. to drink. to think. to even get out of bed. and you know what? nobody would expect you to. in ICU you get a free pass to heal. on your timetable and nobody elses. you can say what you want to say and people sympathize. people never tell you time heals all wounds or this too shall pass or other nonsense. because the pure definition of ICU is critical care. you are critical. fragile.
this is where I am. i’ve voluntarily checked myself into the ICU. grief is just like being there. except that people don’t really get that. they think the pain is internal or just heartbreak…but i tell you that each day my arms ache…physically ache to hold him. my chest tightens when i try to breathe and think of him simultaneously. my legs won’t help me get out of bed some mornings. I’m in ICU. and there are no discharge papers in sight. i’m no where near rehabilitated for the real world. not even one step in the right direction.
but by truly only the grace of God am i able to face each day.
I wake up and instantly think of him and the pain overwhelms me from my heart to my feet and back up again. to the tips of every toe…all consuming. never ending. not one part of any day is easy anymore. and i wish people could appreciate that. there simply is no better way to explain it than this.
i used to get up each morning, and wake up 3 boys. make 3 breakfasts, get 3 ready for the day, and now there are only 2 to get up…only 2 to get ready. only 2 breakfasts. i used to assemble and prepare all the medications and hours of therapy scheduled into each tiny bit of the day i could…and now i simply pass out a chewable vitamin, thats the extent of my daily medicine treatments. i used to have applesauce only on hand for enzymes so that he could eat and digest and my fridge and cupboards had a shelf that only his stuff was on and now it’s all gone. i have no clue whats in it’s place. i don’t want to know. but it’s gone and it’s different. no more elementary school. now my oldest child is in preschool…so i know logically i should be back to school shopping but then reality hits..oh wait, no i don’t anymore. he lost. once again a reminder. only 2 carseats in my car now, there used to be 3. he’s gone. only 2 kiddos laundry to fold and put away, he no longer wears any. upstairs used to be a bedroom that i’d lay in with him cuddeling him or loving him or caring for him but now i can’t go up there. he’s not there. his toothbrush still sits in the holder. but goes unused. his legos are strewn about the house but not because of him, but because Hunters playing with them now. every single thing i did was for 3 kids. 3. and now when i only have to count to 2 every single time i need to do anything reminds me he’s gone. forget the pictures laying around or the toys or special things that remind me of him. forget the memories that jump into my mind bombarding me at any moment bringing me to my knees helpless…forget all that. it’s always in my face. it’s pulling a bandaid from a scab…OVER and OVER again. from the time i wake up until the time i can finally close my eyes there is no escape from it. none. and that is why grief is so intensly difficult. cus there is no break from it. it’s all the time in your face…forcing you to surrender with your white flag for maybe a nap if you’re able, or to an early bedtime…or to just become ok with being in the ICU. helpless. fragile. defeated.
7 years ago i knew it was going to be an uphill climb…a year later with his diagnosis of CF I knew the chances then grew even slimmer. but honestly can i say. i never EVER thought we’d lose. that he’d lose. because life’s not supposed to be like that. parents are supposed to outlive their children. and now 8 Thursdays later…8 precious thursdays since i held my sweet Connerman one thing i know for sure…and really the ONLY thing i now know for sure…is nobody’s safe. no life means more than another. my pain can be your pain in a blink of an eye. i pray you live it up and love it wholly. i pray you enjoy your fight. enjoy your hugs and kisses. i pray that my nightmare never becomes your own but please…don’t take it for granted…
cus now there isn’t one thing i wouldn’t do to see him again. heavens never been farther away then it is tonight…
love love love
magic number 3