I see disaster around every corner. I see all the sharp corners, backless barstools, possible tripping hazards and potential life altering scenarios. Every moment of every day, I have to choose to ignore the arrows pointing towards these death traps. I am also constantly aware that at any moment, life could be completely changed by ones of these named things or something that I haven't possibly considered. But I know it's there.
Trauma just waiting to happen.
I was not like this before I had my own child who required 24 hour care. Yes, I was over protective and a helicopter parent but only because I was so incredibly enamored with my son that I wanted to participate in every single moment. Not because I thought we would only have 3 1/2 years of "normal" bliss with him.
I wish I could say that I revel in our sweet memories more than the bad but that just isn't true. Those last two years of his life and the intense state of emergency that we lived in, are always looming in the background of my mind.
I ignore it. I push it back. I tell myself that I am fine and that my second child is not my first child. That what happened to his brother won't happen to him.
I tell myself that when I see children doing things that are extremely dangerous and their parents think its no big deal, that I am over reacting and to chill out.
But I fear for them and what could possibly happen. I seriously have to turn the other way so as not to experience the rush of traumatic possibility that could unfold at any moment.
I know I didn't cause my child's immune system to attack his brain. I know it was something that just happened based on his genetic makeup. But it is still so hard not to put blame on other things that could have contributed.
If you have lost a child or loved one, than I am assuming you go through these scenarios too. Especially if you lost them suddenly. I know that most people don't understand and think that I am crazy and hyper sensitive.
The most reassuring thing that I have heard over this past year after my son passed away, was that I could be experiencing Post Traumatic Stress. PTSD is something that is triggered by a terrifying event that can lead to anxiety, flashbacks and nightmares. Um, yes but no way, not me.
Of course, at first, I thought this was ridiculous. Isn't this what soldiers have after war? I haven't been to war. But then the more I processed this, it was exactly what I was experiencing.
A delayed response from my youngest child would have me whipping the car to the side of the road to grab the oxygen to help him out of whatever was allowing him not to respond. A child laying still on the floor at church would have me rushing towards him to help open his airway.
Any moment that I was remotely close to what I experienced, would trigger a memory from the past two years and have my blood pumping and me up and moving.
I can not tell you how many times I check on my youngest throughout the night to make sure he is breathing. It doesn't even tax me to wake up to go do this.
I have shaken him awake in the car thinking something was wrong with him only to have him look at me like ... Um, hello..what are you doing? ...Sleeping here. . My bad bro, go back to sleep.
It has lessened over the past few months, not for lack of anxiety on my part but for realizing that if something is wrong with my child or someone else, that I probably won't be able to stop it anyways.
I remember when I was brought home by the police in 8th grade for sneaking out to meet boys in the middle of the night. Yes, so lame. My friend that I did this with is now a pastor so, let's cut the middle school kids some slack. Like, totally ground them but don't count them out.
For months after, I would immediately have that sinking feeling everytime I saw police lights thus transporting me back to that night in 1995 where I thought for sure, my life was over.
Little did I know , that is probably a common reaction to police lights. So you can relate a little, okay? It freaks you out!
This happens with any of these triggers that put me back into the two years of trying to keep my oldest son alive. Hospitals, Funerals, Pain Medications, Seizures, seeing the word seizures, Hospice, G Tubes, All therapies, Kids laying on the ground in unusual circumstances, weird long gazes, someone being slow to respond to a question, blue lips, hands in any type of contorted shaped, etc... The list is so long and each dimension of each word has its own catalog of memories that I was either too busy to recall until now or didn't realize that actually happened until I see it playing over in my mind.
This is not debilitating but it is something I am trying to work through. Something I try to not let control me. But sometimes I just give into it and remember. Sometimes remembering the reality of what we went through makes it more real.
It is pretty easy to pretend like it didn't happen, for a little while. Then the enormity of the fact that my oldest son is not breathing on earth anymore crushes me with more weight than I think my body can physically push back against.