Forever in My Heart Friday. FIMHF. Week 51. No date is etched as deeply on my heart as Myesha’s death date. When you lose someone you love deeply, that day will forever haunt you; much like 9/11 impacted our country. We replay “that moment when our world stood still” repeatedly and force ourselves through tear soaked eyes to relive that pain, not because we just enjoy the self-torture it brings, but because that hurt, that pain in our shattered hearts is a constant reminder of how much your life can change in the blink of an eye. That was the day my heart broke in more pieces than what it was made of. This type of grief is like walking through the desert all day in the blazing hot sun, with this incredible load on your back, with no water to drink. We feel drained — emotionally, mentally, and physically because our minds are going 24/7 thinking about how much life has now changed. So here I am, approaching the 1 year mark on this Sunday and as the days get closer and closer I crashed last night. I sat at home and cried all night. But that didn’t help. Crying made me feel guilty, like I was seeking a release I didn’t deserve because I had spent a year unable to “fix” it. Calling her phone over and over again just to hear her voice. Surely I deserved all of the pain I felt.
I had what the medical profession refers to as an “Anniversary Reaction” It’s that grief response that is triggered by a date or an event which reactivates the remembered experience of the death itself. This reaction may be felt in all parts of one’s self: heart, mind, body, and soul. Memories are heightened. Feelings may be intensified. It’s the first anniversary of your loved one’s death. It’s as if you’re re-experiencing, in vivid detail, all you went through on those same days twelve months before.
It started for me yesterday. Yesterday, 12 months ago, we called her doctor and begged him to see her because something was wrong. It took 3 phone calls that started at 8am to finally get a return call and a last minute appointment toward the end of the day that accomplished nothing but more pain with a jacked up re-casting job. No labs run. No questions asked. Just an, “Oh your fine. This is normal. Here take some more pain pills and I’ll increase the strength.” Then not even 5 hours later my mom and I took her to the ER because her pain was so unbearable.
This morning 12 months ago she was transferred from the ER to another hospital and was admitted for nothing more than post-surgery “pain management”. Tonight 12 months ago the ER, who did run labs, confirmed a diagnosis of MRSA. Tonight 12 months ago at 10:12pm the hospital and doctors were made aware of this diagnoses and chose not to treat her with vancomycin for 11 hours and not tell me this. Why? I don’t know. I still don’t understand. I’m still so angry. All I could think is it was late at night and no one wanted to deal with it that late.
By tomorrow morning, 12 months ago, she was in ICU, vitals all over the place. I still have the recording on my phone from my mother telling me she was getting transferred. 12 months ago tomorrow she will have surgery to clean out the infection that had now ruptured to the point that blood and puss was seeping out of her cast that was so badly put on, the hospital didn’t have the equipment to take it off and had to wait for the doctor to show up to get it off with special equipment. 12 months ago tomorrow it will have been the last time I got to talk to her alive. The last time I got to tell her “I love you Myesha” and hear her say “I love you to Momma”. 12 months ago tomorrow embarks the beginning of the end.
12 months ago on July 17th, at 9:01am right in front of her sister and I she flat lined and was a “Code Blue”. I watched as my baby’s body was violently jolted off that bed with the shock paddles, as doctors and nurses worked diligently to keep her alive. I fell to my knees and began to pray. It took 8 minutes to get her back at 9:09am. Then it happened again just 8 minutes later at 9:17am, “Code Blue”. I could hear the medical staff, “I don’t think she’s going to make it”. I am now pacing the floor, wondering why my prayers are going unanswered. Can God not hear me? So I began to scream, “JESUS, PLEASE DON’T TAKE MY BABY…” over and over again. Damn it. I figured I had to scream it as loud as I could so HE could hear my cries. They got her back about 15 minutes later but she was unable to stabilize and for the 3rd time she flat lined. After 45 minutes of pure hell she was back, stable and alive with the use of machines to assist her. That’s when I was pulled aside by the doctor and told that it was time to make “that call”. “That call” no parent should have to make. After over 45 minutes without oxygen my daughter was now considered “brain dead”. So if she survived and didn’t flat-line again, this would be her life, which would be no life at all. At that point I was trapped in a pit of hell that would soon be my new life, a life without Myesha.
The harsh reality is parents will grieve the loss of their child forever. Over time the grief will become less raw, but it will always remain. Over the past year you have had to move forward without them. Only the passage of time has put a distance between you and your child. Child loss is the most traumatic loss known to humankind, and the most misunderstood of all losses. Good parents do suffer. We cling to the hope of heaven and that thought of seeing our child again gives us the strength to survive another day.
There’s an old Dr. Seuss quote, “Don’t cry because it’s over, Smile because it happened.” I try to remember to “smile because it happened” because I had Myesha in my life for 18, almost 19 years. I will continue to honor the day she entered my life on August 31st, 1996, and I will try to honor the day she left it as well, July 17, 2015. I was, and am, still her mother. No one can strip that from me. What a gift that was. And when I think of it that way, I do smile because it happened. Mommy loves you Myesha!! FIM <3 F.