Flashbacks. Vivid memories of what happened. They count down to the minute of what we were doing. 8:02pm we fought for Owen to be declared brain dead so we could still donate his organs. 8:15 he was sent down for his MRI. 8:30 our doctor told us he was going home for the day and another doctor would deliver the test results. 9:14 I sat in the hospital room with my family, unknowing of the radiology doctor’s declaration. 9:34 the other doctor comes in and tells us the news before I had a chance to hold Owen’s hand. It’s over. That quick. But every milestone ticks away as I watch the clock here in reality.
A piece of wisdom I received was to try and stop the flashbacks. Perhaps memorizing scripture or sing a song. Something to stop your mind from going back in time. I’m not so sure I want the flashbacks to stop. The pain reminds me of what I have survived. The pain reminds me that I am alive. I’m not sure I want them to become a thing of the past, that I think of less and less often. Those flashbacks are Owen. They are my last memories of the life that was once in our home. My son.
Stopping the flashbacks is a scary thing to do. It’s acknowledging that it happened and it’s done. To relive it over and over gives the memories, as horrible as they are, some kind of life. It brings them from the past into the present. It’s the only thing I have left of Owen … memories. Giving CPR is part of him … I touched him, a watched him, i tasted the blood, I breathed life into him. It’s horrific, but I was trying to save his life. It’s part of my life memories of Owen. I wrote before … I wish I could have stayed in the hospital with Owen forever. Our families were there. Together. We had each other. The rest of the world seemed to stand still while my family and I were able to just feel. To be.
Now the world goes on. Real life is setting in. It’s real. Owen is dead. It is the past. The present and future do not have Owen in them.
I asked for help in my grief support group. How do I stay healthy through this? I just want to stay healthy. Even if it hurts more now, if the ending is what is best, then I can endure it. Just help me … help me find the energy to take care of my family, the peace to sleep at night and the wisdom to honor Owen’s spirit and love my God.
Five minutes at a time. When you are tired and worn, just look at the next five minutes. Then re-set. what’s the next five minutes going to be like? An entire day might seem overwhelming, but I can do five minutes!
I’m still not sure what I’m going to do with the flashbacks … do I stop myself abruptly and not let them enter my mind? Or do I embrace the pain, the memories. Knit them into my life blanket. Let them become apart of my reality. I think that’s what I’ve been doing until now. There is a new level of pain. I not only remember the hospital and Owen’s death, but I remember last year when he WAS alive. I find myself thinking “last year we were here and the three babies were doing this.”
I’ve entered into a new phase of remembering. I never had a day to compare today to before. Owen never had a birthday. He never lived through a Halloween. I didn’t know what it looked like to have all three babies in a costume. I didn’t know this pain before. Thinking about Christmas … I automatically think about the white sleepers my sister bought for the triplets that said something about being on Auntie’s nice list. I think of our family picture … the last picture taken of our entire family of 6. This year there will be two gifts. There will be five in our Christmas Day family photo. There will be a hole in my reality.
So what do I do now? How do I survive this part? Does it get easier? Do I want it to get easier? I cling to the pain as my only thing left. The nasty, dirty baby blanket that you just can’t throw away because it’s all you have left from your childhood. The flashbacks are my blanket. I embrace the pain. But is it healthy? Am I jut hurting myself more and in turn hurting my family when I can’t care for them in the way I want to?
ps I still have a post I’m working on about the rest of our holiday weekend 🙂 But I just had to get this post out of my head before I could focus on another one. Look for more family photos coming soon!