He eased his body onto the mattress while pulling up the covers and rested his head on the pillow. There are far too many memories of his selfishness, but he will not deny them; he will learn from them. That is both his prayer and his hope. Mercifully, the memories were not all bad. He smiled as another one surfaced. http://thresholdofheaven.com/2012/09/27/now-i-lay-me-down-to-sleep/
This is an extract from a blog of a father’s journey after the death of his young son. Like all parents he is wracked by feelings of guilt and inadequacy.
Shortly after her third birthday Vic developed a bad cold. Her nose was running and I asked her to go wipe her it. She looked at me and in her most defiant tone of voice said “No! I won’t”. I gave her a light smack on her bum. She moved her little arm in front of her bum in an attempt to stop me … three of my fingers struck her arm. She screamed! I immediately knew I had broken her arm…
The x-rays showed that the ulna was broken in three places…. Imagine my horror, guilt, feelings of inadequacy and self-doubt!
I worked hard as a young mother. I was young, divorced, a single parent climbing the corporate ladder. My child had been diagnosed with Osteogenesis Imperfecta (brittle bone disease) and I needed a lot of money to keep Vicky alive and living a fair life. She attended a private school. Did I neglect her at times as a child? Yes, I am sure I did. Not because I wanted too but because I had to work extra hard for that bonus or the next promotion!
Did I abuse her as a child? Absolutely not! My neighbors and some emergency rooms did however think I did… By her 3rd birthday she had had 40 fractures…
When Vic was a little girl there was no internet and Osteogenesis Imperfecta was a “new and extremely rare” disease. I spend many hours, days, weeks even months researching OI in libraries. I went from doctor to doctor. I tried alternative medicine, physiotherapy and hormone treatment! I have spent thousands of hours on the internet researching every single medical report, diagnoses, blood test result that Vic has ever received. I have bullied doctors, nurses and anyone who ever dared cross our path. An ICU sister once told me I am a control freak and that I feed off Vic’s illness!
I can however honestly say that I did my best. I cannot apologize for the mistakes I made as a mother as, at the time, whatever decision I made, I thought it was in Vic’s best interest.
Am I special? Absolutely not! I only do what any other mother would do under the same circumstances. I cringe when people say “oh you are so brave” or “Oh you are so special” or “What an exceptional mother you are. Vicky is lucky to have you as a mother”. Nothing could be further removed from the truth… I am the one blessed with an incredibly brave, compassionate, brilliant child! Vic has enriched my life so much! If I could choose a life with a healthy (different) child where I could have a life of my own, I would not. Vic is part of my journey.
I come from a long line of very good mothers…My Mom taught us the values of being a “family”, honesty, unconditional love, caring and nurturing… I am surrounded by good mothers. Vic is a good mother to her sons. Esther, Lelani and Michaela are good mothers to their children! All my grandchildren have good mothers.
Mothers love the way love is needed. If the child needs caring they get caring, if they need nursing they are nursed. A mother’s love is love in its purest form.
When Vic was 10 years old she lied to me about a school test. It was not the first time she had fibbed and I knew I had to punish her. Lying is an unforgivable transgression! I always told Vicky that it is better to face my wrath for 5 minutes than to lie to me and destroy the trust that we had forever. If she lied I would ALWAYS doubt her…Remembering the broken arm episode and knowing that she knew that I was a pacifist at heart, I decided the worst punishment I could give her would be a smack on her bottom. I made her lie on her bed, on top of her arms, and gave her three smacks with my slipper. (It sounds so barbaric!)
She smirked “It did not hurt at all” and I sobbed….
I phoned my Mom and sobbed “I am such a failure. I am such a lousy Mother! My child is lying to me. I failed as a mother AND I GAVE HER A HIDING!”
Mom quietly asked me “What can you do to be a better Mom?”
I replied “Nothing! I don’t know what else to do! That is why I am phoning you! I need guidance and advice! Please tell me what to do!”
My Mom gently replied “You can never do better than your best!”
These wise words have remained with me all my life.
Good decisions or bad decisions…I did my best….
Right or wrong…I did my best…