This whole grieving thing is tough. Every time I think I have something figured out; a coping mechanism, an expected reaction, an anticipated emotion, it sneaks out and gives me an unpredicted surprise.
I’ve always been a bit of a hypochondriac. When my kids get sick I can get a bit crazy. I’ve ended up jumping to conclusions and scaring myself much more than is necessary. Thankfully I have Dean, who’s on the other end of the spectrum. The boys could have their hair lit on fire and he’ll calmly tell me relax and blow it out. Well maybe not quite that extreme, but you catch my drift.
When we found out about Killians heart, I was petrified. I didnt know how I was ever going to be the mom with a seriously ill child. As someone who once wanted to take my baby to the hospital because he threw up…once, I just didn’t know how I was ever going to possibly survive. But once he came, once we got to Sick Kids, I did. I survived. With the things being thrown at me, most things that would have people in hysterics, I was ok. I got tough. My skin got thick. I did it because I had to for Killian. I had to hear these terrifying things daily. I had to sign release forms that had extreme brain damage and death as a possible side effect. I had to understand that even when a transplant came, life was going to be constant monitoring and medicating, hoping that his body wasn’t rejecting the thing keeping him alive. I had to watch and prepare for the possibility of cancer attacking his body because of the life long medication he would have been on. I was strong. And im proud of that.
I remember sitting with Dean at the hospital late one night and saying to him, “Well, if I can deal with this, I can handle anything now. A cold can’t scare me now”.
Then, two nights ago, Malik woke up with a nasty cold. I was fine all day, didn’t really think about it. Stocked up on some Tylenol and fluids. Night time rolled around I tucked him in, gave him some meds and went about my evening. Got into bed, and my brain started to do what it does now. Race, think, plot, remember. My anxiety came into full fledged crazy mode. Thankfully Dean kept me from jumping over the panic attack ledge, but it was close.
I spent the night in and out of his room. I layed there for hours, one hand on his chest and the other holding my phone, staring at the timer. I timed his breathing rate and his heart rate over and over and over. I would shake him a bit, just to see him react to me being there. I cried off an on all night. I kept remembering the machines in Killian’s room. The numbers that his breathing, saturations and heart rate needed to be in. I remembered seeing those numbers start to drop lower and lower the day he died. I was absolutely consumed with the fear that something was going to happen to Malik. I was already thinking about how I couldn’t survive going through it again. How was I supposed to be a mom to Ryker if Malik left too. How was I supposed to live knowing that two of my boys were gone. My brain was betraying every logical part itself. It was going to the worst of the worst of the worst. Logic was telling me I was being irrational and crazy, but I couldn’t shut it down.
He’s been fine, he’s fighting a cold but is his regular, stubborn self. I’m still trying to keep my anxiety down, im actively talking myself out of it daily. Self talking the reality of the situation. I think we all have anxiety, it’s part of being alive. We can’t ignore it. But then we need to get up, brush off, and try again. Take it on head first and not give up. Im so thankful that I have the ability to give anxiety and fear it’s time, and then to get back in the ring and keep fighting it. But i’m also not embarrassed to say that if the time comes, and I just can’t control the anxiety flare’s, I will gladly get into some councelling. Self-care is so very important, in not only grief, but in life. There’s no shame in admitting that your brain is trying to sabotage your peace. We need to fight to keep our peace any way we can.