Nightmares and Second Guesses


“Posted May 27, 2006 6:52pm:

Kim and Stephanie are at the emergency room with Matthew right
now. His heart rate was 147 and his blood pressure was 38/78. The
on-call hematologist thinks this is due to low red cell count so
Matthew may need a blood transfusion tonight.”

SHS Graduation 2006

I have been reflecting on the decisions we made surrounding Matthew’s illness and the treatment he received. This entry (above) was made the day after he graduated from high school. Our household had company from out-of-state that had come up to celebrate that very special occasion and to spend some time with Matthew now that he was home from the hospital. Kim & I had spent a few hours visiting with another family friend who had also just graduated high school. As I sit here trying to communicate the situation we were in and the feelings that were going through my head, the memories are so vivid that they threaten to overwhelm me.

Questions have run around in my head since that time. Questions such as, “Why did I have Stephanie go with Kim & Matthew instead of me?” Was it my own laziness, or was it that I just didn’t want to deal with the hospital stress again? Did the sense of obligation to be a “good” daughter and to entertain our company color my judgment in taking care of my son? So many questions. And no possible way for me to find the answers.

I feel so much guilt and shame. I want to go back in time and change the way I did things, reevaluate my decisions, and have another chance to be the kind of mom I want to be to my children. I can’t do any of that for Matthew. So now, I just second guess myself.

And that’s where the nightmares start. In my dreams I hear my child’s cries for comfort and assurance, and I am not there with him. I see the bright white lights of the hospital rooms and the anonymous caregivers, and I can’t wrap my arms around him or whisper to him and assure him that mommy’s right here. These thoughts are a physical ache within my body and although I manage to push them aside during the busyness of the day, at night they wander through my mind.

There have been many nights where I simply prayer that I would fall into dreamless sleep so that I would not think. Or at the very least, I would not remember. But God has been gracious to me and has reminded me that I would be less of who I am if I did not have the memories. So, tonight I will once again dream remembering my son, remembering my choices, hearing his voice and his cries for comfort that I can not offer him.

Then in the morning, I will thank God again for the gift of my son, each moment I had with him, and each memory that fills my heart.

“Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I fear no evil; for you are with me; your rod and your staff— they comfort me.” ~ Psalm 23:4

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3 thoughts on “Nightmares and Second Guesses

  1. I remember, and the sadness is so heavy. I remember that to Matthew, you were the final word, the one he looked to for support, the one he joked with, the one who made things better. He was happiest with his family, so you did so much that was right. When those feelings of mom guilt raise up, remember the good times, Sweet Caroline. Much love, Linda

  2. Wow…thank you so much for sharing such deep and painful emotions, memories, and current thoughts so publicly. Your vulnerability is an inspiration for all of us who have secret doubts, secret guilt, and secret darkness that we deal with in choices we’ve made that we look back on and wonder about. God bless you, and I’m happy to call you sister.

    • Thank you my friend for your words and encouragement. I have learned that our secrets lose their hold over us when we are willing to share them with others. Bless you sister!

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