All it takes is a phone call to start you screaming
by Loraine Ritchey contact firstname.lastname@example.org
A simple thing- the ringing of a phone, stopping what you are doing to answer and to have your life change after saying a simple word
It was a phone call that sent an icy cold that permeated through my very core and has not left me yet, my brain not wanting to “compute” what my ears were hearing, mouth dry, eyes welling with tears , the incredulousness, the denial , the confusion, the sheer terror that runs through your frame, your mind screaming, a few seconds that changes your life forever- nothing will ever be the same.
A phone call that leaves you weeping with fear, that terror, whose tentacles reach through your very being, tearing at your insides, ripping to shreds happiness and laughter. One of the people you love more than life itself, one that you gave birth to, cuddled, bathed, fed and protected is on Route 2 and has answered another (cell) phone to be told that test results (for possible bronchitis) have come back with a life threatening disease.
Someone please wake me from this nightmare……..what am I supposed to do, what do I say, how can I do anything- someone , anyone why????????????????
The look on your husband’s face as he tries to understand the picture of what is happening with this conversation………
The dread disease that sends a mother into the world of deal making ,
No please – not my child , let it be me, take me ,God how can I bear this?
How can I be brave and make it better when my heart is exploding with pain, every part of me screaming from the gauntlet of emotions that are coursing through my very essence? You are removed from the world around you -
Nothing matters, not the politics, not the crime, not the state of the roads, not the weddings, the weather, blogs, the pettiness, media , CRA’s, pontificators, principles , presidents, arguments ….. .nothing…. your world has shrunk, your planet consists of no more than 8 people and the all consuming fire of fear that your child is going to be in a world of hurt and you are helpless.
You want to curl up in a dark place – trying not to feel, to escape but the pain and confusion drags you back to the surface of desperation, despair and the reality that is now your world.
Eventually the body decides, through sheer exhaustion, to sleep but the nightmare doesn’t stop, you wake, a pillow wet with tears, a coldness that remains in your very core reminding you there is no escape- you truly do
“wake from sleep exhausted”(Susette Kelo)
Family , friends try to be encouraging and for that you are grateful but in a mother’s heart there is really nothing that they can do or say , you want to wake up from the nightmare, make it go away.
Make it stop
You look for anything that will give you hope -that there is a mistake but somehow inside you know the truth – it will not go away – it is going to have to be dealt with.
No matter how old your child becomes they will always be your child. You see not the young man or daughter – you see the chubby 2 year old with soft plump arms, the eyes that never change
“kiss it better mummy”
only mummy can’t- no soft butterfly kisses or a cookie is going to fix this – there is no magic bandaid with happy faces. Your life and that of your loved ones is contingent upon a surgeon’s knife and upon a lab in California – a stranger making a decision that will decide whether there is happiness , hope or pain to come in your life and that of your child. You are just another lab report , a number with an insurance billing code- a job of work.
This nightmare of speculation and waiting for the next body blow , like some sort of insidious torture technique, rips at you and the very fabric of your family . Life goes on around you but you are removed you go through the motions but you aren’t really there and you only care about the turmoil that one phone call caused.
The tests, the scans, the trips to the hospital, the waiting rooms with color co-ordinated furnishings, a laugh echoing through a hallway, people talking about the weather, a child crying as life goes on -biopsies, more waiting – hoping- praying pleading with a greater power
“please let them have this wrong ” “please let it be a mistake”
Watching every movement,
are they eating , are they paler today , the cough – is it better, worse,?
Trying to smile, to put on the brave face and make life normal until the results are in, cooking food no one really wants to eat , but the strength has to be kept up. Laying awake watching the clock tick away the hours of life and darkness, waiting for morning.
things always look better in the daylight,
but that isn’t true- the mornings come and there is no sanctuary in the watery, wintery sun. Days run into one another, hours, the calendar and the marked events deemed important enough to make note of are no longer significant in their passing.
The darkness envelopes and you think of other mothers, how do they cope with news that threatens their babies, their teenagers, the mothers whose sons and daughters return from war missing limbs and with horrific injuries, how do they cope even having them in harms way- day after day ?
How does a mother bear the news that her child is gone- no longer to hold them, to feel a heartbeat , to gaze with love upon their face, the hear their laugh , to see their eyes no more ….the gut wrenching sadness the rises up. unasked, unwanted, and overflows with the releasing of tears without warning.
Then the results and you know, even before the Doctor opens his mouth – you see his eyes- what they are…. you hear the bad news tempered with good news and hope and another journey begins…………and you know that somewhere another mother shares your pain and fear and is trying to make a deal
take me, not my child………………..
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