Saturday, February 23, 2013
These eyes. I would give anything to not have to see the world through them. Seems like a lifetime of waterfalls have been cried, yet still, the tears can still flow from time to time. I haven't always felt like this....because.....
These eyes have watched in wonder at 5 very first ultrasounds. These eyes have seen 4 out of my 5 children take their first breaths (Heather was an emergency c-section that I was put under for). These eyes watched each of their first smiles, first steps, first teeth, first temper tantrums, first written letters.These eyes have watched all but the youngest start school. These eyes have watched two of them graduate from High School so far. These eyes have watched the oldest ones cry over boys, perceived inadequacies, grades, and pressures they feel. These eyes have watched one sing like an angel on many an occasion , and another play a beautiful violin many times (even though I know she hated to play for us at home for some reason...).These eyes witnessed the second oldest daughter love and be SO gentle to her baby sister, and thoroughly enjoy taking her under her wing. These eyes cried tears of joy while watching my firstborn marry the man of her dreams and embark on her new life as a wife.
BUT........These eyes also had to watch helplessly for a week as the second born suddenly became ill, struggle to breathe and become dependent on a ventilator to stay alive. These eyes watched my Holly bloat while on the ventilator. These eyes watched as her father (who at the time, had taken for granted that he would have a lifetime to make up for the wasted time that could have been spent with his children) fly in from Florida (though not before she was intubated...he never saw her beautiful blue opened eyes again...)and never leave her side unless he had to grab a quick bite, use the restroom, or sleep for an hour, and hold her hand while singing to her.
These eyes watched as her doctors told us that Holly WAS.GOING.TO.DIE. These eyes watched as the sound to the machines was turned off, and one by one, the machines themselves were shut down. These eyes watched as her heart beat its last beat. And, after crying for many days, these eyes watched her older sister spontaneously stand up and walk to the front of the room next to Holly's coffin and start singing (a-capella) "My Heart Will Go On" by Celine Dione. These eyes watched a butterfly flit around , between, and among Holly's sisters and I while we heard a brief service by what would be her final resting place. And then, these eyes had to start to learn to live in an altered state of reality, where tears took on a mind of their own, and the eyes were permanently red ringed.
So NOW....These eyes see the world through a jaded veil. These eyes see a world that has parents that lose their children , and in which sometimes, a visit to the ER can be a one way visit.
I have spent the last (almost) 15 years trying to choke back utter panic any time I would go to the hospital for myself, let alone to take my children. I always walk that inner tightrope that rises above a divided sea which is composed of utter alarmist paranoia and the solitude of rational thought. But at least in recent years, it becomes more of an inner dialogue of some facsimile of Edvard Munch's iconic The Scream yelling out from time to time (NO!! PLEASE!! NOT AGAIN!), while somehow. remaining present for my ill or injured child.
Last night, the Hess household experienced a crisis with Alexander that took us to the ER. And these eyes went to work viewing the world as it is now, and not as it was , before May 22, 1998, when vision was unveiled and crystal clear with the naive belief that "those things always happen to people you read about, but never to you....". I wish that I didn't have to view the world through these eyes. We returned later with orders to follow up with an appointment on Monday with our own doctor. I wish that I still lived in a world where the possibility of surviving any of my children did not yet exist.
I wish I would not have to view the world through these eyes, or their permanent...jaded....veil....
I need to say that the above is not being shared to elicit sympathy or pity. Writing for me is therapy. It is my fervent hope that if my burning urge to pick at the scab of my wounded psyche can help even one person to gain even the tiniest of insights into the mind of a person who had to learn to live life in a "new normal" after learning they would have to survive the rest of their days without one of their beautiful children, it is worth it......