i know, i worry, i hope

Guilt. Blame. Hindsight.

Three things I now have. Two I wish I didn’t. One that I wish I was somehow able to have sooner, but fidget with the knowledge that this is not possible. They plague most of my thoughts these days. I try to get rid of them through my keyboard, but somehow they still manage to get back in for another round. They just cannot get enough. Their hunger, insatiable.

We have established that I overthink everything. That my rational self is unable to convince my irrational grieving mind that the narratives it builds have no foundation. That I could easy topple the structure with fact, triumphantly showing who is in control. However, with grief, you soon realize how little control you are allowed. How even the most irrational thought can be cloaked as truth.

On Monday, we have a meeting with the team that delivered Owen. The people who were present for our son’s birth, an event that due to urgency and circumstance, we were not there for. An event that so suddenly turned from expectation of elation to a traumatic experience for the three of us, Owen included. It did not play out how we had planned, as our responsibility as parents dictated it should. The birth of Owen Benjamin was never celebrated as we had dreamed. We feel robbed.

When Owen died, I was left with questions. A lot of them. Many that I struggle to articulate, but have caused great confusion and despair nonetheless. The thoughts that have led me to those three new companions I mentioned earlier.

I know that I wish I could have changed the outcome. I know that I blame myself for not knowing my son needed me, for not getting him out sooner. I know that I struggle with the knowledge that it was my body that caused Owen harm, the place he was meant to be safe. I know that knowing why will not change the fact that Owen has died. I know that there is nothing that I can do to bring him back. I know that I will always live with the pain of wishing otherwise.

These are some of the things that I know right now. The things that the guilt, blame and hindsight are allowing to fester in my irrational mind. My rational self knows that I would never have willingly caused harm to my little boy. It knows that I did the best that I could. It knows that if I had the slightest inkling of harm, I would have fought to change the outcome. It knows how much I love my son. However, it also recognizes the lack of control. At the moment, it has surrendered.

I worry that the doctors might tell me something that I am unable to forget. That somehow they will manage to change my memory of the time I spent with my son. I also worry that they won’t be able to tell me anything. That the death of our son, a healthy baby boy, may always be a mystery.

However, sometimes I hope. I hope that someday my rational self will be stronger, more able to conquer the irrational thoughts. I hope that some day I will have perspective and some sort of understanding. That somehow I will be able to forgive myself, knowing that we did the best we could have done at the time with the knowledge we had. Knowing that, while much shorter than expected, Owen lived a beautiful life full of love and that his spirit will always live on with us.


4 thoughts on “i know, i worry, i hope

  1. Gretchen April 12, 2015 / 5:42 am

    There is so much anticipation leading up to a meeting like this. After one of our first meetings with Zachary’s doctors, after he died, there was such a painful letdown. It was like I expected to feel something different afterward. (There is also the issue of negligence in Zachary’s care, so that is an additional burden).

    Actually with all new firsts (and sometimes seconds and thirds), I feel my subconscious being told… “He is still dead.” It just all tends to be so unsatisfying. I wish I could protect you from any additional pain you experience on Monday. I will be thinking of you and your husband and Owen tomorrow.


    • robynedmondson April 14, 2015 / 12:32 pm

      Thank you, Gretchen.

      It was a difficult meeting for sure. I am going to ‘write it out’ later this afternoon. As you said, nothing will be able to bring our babies back. We didn’t get any answers, but I am not sure what we expected.

      I am not sure how I would handle the negligence issue. That is the most infuriating. I know it doesn’t change anything, but you have every right to scream and cry and rage and whatever it takes. The universe is so unfair.

      Know that Zachary is thought of in our house. We try to remember and speak the names of other babies we ‘meet’. They deserve it. xo


  2. typhaine April 14, 2015 / 5:51 am

    I strongly relate to the struggle between what you know to be true — that you only wanted the best for your son, that if you had had the smallest clue that something was wrong, you would have done everything to help him — and the guilt that you feel for how things turned out.

    I really struggled with that after the death of my healthy one-month-old, Paul. I felt so guilty for not knowing, not being able to protect him. I still have moments of deep doubt but after more than a year, the guilt and incessant questioning have receded and left me with a calm sadness and love for my son (on most days). I hope you find that to be the case for you too eventually, and that you find a space of peace to grieve for Owen without constantly dealing with guilt and blame…


    • robynedmondson April 14, 2015 / 12:40 pm

      This reaffirms my hope. Thank you.

      I am sorry to hear about your little boy, Paul. It pains me to have learned that sometimes there are no answers. That terrible, awful, things can happen to good people. Not fair at all.

      I do know that we love our boys. So very much.


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