These are my darkest days. My son is my light. My husband, my anchor. My family, my pride.
The other night as I sat watching my husband try to sleep in his hospital bed, I couldn’t help but wonder what was happening to our family. I could not process my feelings. The doctors say spontaneous collapsed lung. We say the universe. One more thing to remind us how little control or understanding we actually have.
We have heard that misfortune comes in threes. I am not sure who set this limitation, but I hazard to place faith in such a claim. It implies order, some sort of rhyme and/or reason. It implies that we can now breathe. That we have paid our ‘dues’ and we can now rest, assured that the universe is some how done with our family, confident that we can pick up the pieces of our faith and life will resume with clarity. However, once you have lost your naivety, you can never get it back. You know that you are not invincible. Silly phrases no longer bring comfort.
This proverb insinuates that somehow our son is associated with a misfortune to our family. I struggle to accept this. My son is not a tragedy, and definitely not a misfortune. He is our son, our joy, our Owen Benjamin, an integral part of our family. His life is beautiful. He is beautiful. He makes our family beautiful. I understand that his death was not supposed to happen, that it is sad, but I caution anyone to associate our son with misfortune. We do not need pity. We are proud parents. Yes, we are sad. Of course we are. Our time together is different to how we expected and dreamed. However, we are filled with love and warmth by his continued presence in our lives. His life has brought us joy.
A lot can change in a year. This time last year, I was 13 weeks pregnant. We were so very excited to be parents. Fast forward to October 29th, our son’s due date. Labour kicked in around dinner time. Excitement intensified. A handful of hours and many painful contractions later, early in the morning of October 30th, the excitement quickly became trauma as I was rushed into an emergency c-section.
Now, we are back in the hospital. Albeit a different hospital, for different reasons, but back to familiar surroundings. Back to the land of triggers, of reliving events from 25 weeks ago. We have mixed feelings. Some of it serves as a beautiful reminder to our time spent with our son. Other things a stark remembrance of the trauma of his entrance into the world.
As I sat in the operating room holding my husband’s hand the other night, I was brought back to the moments entering the theatre on my own on October 30th. The shock of the unexpected, the bright white light, the hue of iodine applied to skin, the mask that would induce a sleep and a lack of memory. While I sat watching my husband, I revisited a time I have hesitated to sit with. A time that holds trauma but no remembrance of moments I had anticipated, wished, otherwise. The birth of our precious little boy.
The next day, as the doctor spouted off risks of my husband’s subsequent surgery, followed by the mention of what was intended to be comforting odds, I was frightened. Scared. Anxious. The medical industry loves statistics. A bunch of numbers with the purpose of offering comfort, but ultimately propagate a false sense of security.
I know that I cannot survive without my husband. This time in the hospital has made me realize how we need each other now more than ever. I am worried that something will happen to him and that I will not know how to carry on. That, irrespective of every wish, I will lose my anchor, the reason I am able to continue to hold on. The reason I am still standing.
Yesterday, I was crying and laughing at the same time. I am at odds with my feelings; they are all over the place. The tears hold sadness. The laughter holds darkness. Together, they hold disbelief. We are sitting in a quiet, stark, depressing, hospital room when we would rather be at home with our 6 month old. I am not sure how we ended up here or why the universe thought we needed to learn a lesson. We are not appreciative pupils.
People can tell us to be strong. They can say that everything will be ok. They can find their own sense of peace in the placement of faith in some thing beyond themselves. They can give credence to proverbs. They can live a life full of good deeds, expecting full return. But, ultimately, they do not know. No one does. We are not in control.
I will continue to hold on to my light and my anchor. They will guide me through the darkness and keep me moored as the unknown threatens to consume me.