Every day I go to Vic’s Facebook page to see whether someone remembered her… I leave her messages… Today at 14:18 I dialled her mobile number out of habit.
Exactly three months ago I knew my child’s life had been reduced to hours…I knew that her little body could no longer fight whatever infection was raging in it. Her temperature was off the chart… the thermometer only registers temperatures up to 106 °F (41.5 °C) and then goes onto “HI”.
It was this time, three months ago, that Vic’s breathing changed. Three months ago it was Vic’s last night of breathing.
Earlier that day I fell asleep next to Vic – my hand on the pulse in her neck. I was so exhausted I could not think or function. I just needed to be with her every second of her last hours.
The boys came to say their goodbyes…
I no longer allowed visitors.
I remember lying next to her recalling a discussion we had when I had flu and was running a fever. I am a terrible patient. I am such a ninny. I remembered saying to Vic “Sweetie, when I am dying please don’t let people touch me…”
“I won’t” she promised. “My skin also hurts when I am running a fever…”
“Why didn’t you tell me? It must irritate you when I stroke your hand or hair when you are sick?”
“Because I know you need to touch and hold me when I am sick…” she said.
“I will never to it again. So next time you are running a fever know I want to hold your hand and stroke your hair…”
“It’s okay Mommy. You can hold my hand. I don’t mind. It hurts but makes me feel better…”
“That’s an oxymoron if I have ever heard one in my life!” I laughed and Vic joined in
That night, three months ago, there was no idle chatter or laughter in the house. Just the sound of Vic’s breathing.
Tonight, three months later, everyone has gone to bed. There is no sound of laughter or idle chatter in the house. Earlier tonight there was.
I keep imaging that I am hearing Vic’s footsteps shuffling down the passage. The boys have lit extra candles for their mom. I know that they are sad.
I am aware that the dynamics of my grief is changing. I am starting to function, smile and look “alive”. The numbness has gone. The pain is real now. My sadness is constant. I go to sleep with tears in my eyes and wake up with tears running into my hair. My grief has become “mine”. It has become a constant companion. I do not want to share it. I want to embrace it.
I know there is so much to be grateful for, I know I wanted Vic’s suffering to end, I am grateful that she is no longer fracturing vertebrae from vomiting, crying with pain… I KNOW all of this on an intellectual level. I try to tell my heart to be happy or at least grateful, but my heart won’t listen!
I don’t want to sleep tonight. I want to lie awake and remember my beautiful baby girl, her warm smile, her tiny little hands and her pure soul. If I fall asleep I pray that I will dream of my baby girl…