There’s a hole inside of me, and I don’t know what to do about it. Some days, I can almost ignore it. Almost. Some days, I get up and fall in headfirst. There’s no way to predict what any given day will be like.
I don’t know how to grieve. I don’t know how to do this right. Part of me just wants to bury myself in anything – everything – to block out the pain, to help me forget. As if I could ever, ever forget. At best, maybe I can think about something else for just a little while.
I don’t know if you ever learn to live with this kind of pain. I think you just learn to live around it.
Every night, before bed, my brain has taken to playing me a movie. This movie is always the same. It always has the same ending. It starts with James’s condition deteriorating on Saturday night. I go through the whole scenario again. I visualize the central line in his femoral artery. I remember the multiple IV medications running into him – the Flolan, Synephrine, midazolam, fentanyl, fluids. His trach. The nitric oxide he was inhaling. The G-tube in his stomach.
I see it over and over again. And I see our decision. I remember when they came to turn off the ventilator. I remember when they handed him to Jim to hold. His eyes opened, and even with just that little bit of movement, James started to struggle. I remember begging the doctor to give him a sedative. And they did. He relaxed into his daddy’s arms. And he died. It wasn’t immediate. But it was peaceful and calm.
Over and over, my mind plays this movie on the black screen of my eyelids. I always want the ending to be different, but it never is. I can’t even see a way in which it could be different.
Every night, I have to replay it all so that I can come to the same conclusion. We did everything we could for James. We loved him more than anyone else in the entire world. We fought for him to the end, and when he was tired, we listened.
At least, I tell myself these things. Otherwise, I am faced with the question of whether we should’ve waited longer. Should we have given him longer? Did we give up on our son? Someone I trust greatly once told me that we gave him life. We gave him all that he had. I try to hold onto that when the bleakness of everything starts to drag me down.
Six months and yet, wasn’t it just yesterday that he was here with me? Snuggled safe and sound beside me in his blanket, his bright blue eyes searching my face? How could it be half a year ago?
We loved him so much. We love him still.