Breath-taking love and heart-breaking pain

It took me a while to name this blog post. I already had in mind what I was going to write about, but most of the time the title isn’t a problem. It’s not about creating a show stopping headline – it’s about creating a message that reaches out and grabs the very person who needs to read this.

Four years tonight I sat in a PICU watching my sweet baby, who was almost 18 years old, lie quietly in a bed on a ventilator after suffering from a grand mal seizure. I wonder some days if I had known what was going to happen 11 hours later, would I  have handled things differently. I don’t know. But what I do know is that it wasn’t in my control. God was in charge of this outcome.

As I sat there watching her, I remember thinking how are we gonna get out of this one girl. I talked to her constantly, hoping by some miracle that she would respond. It was so hard to sit and wait. To sit and watch and feel helpless. This child of mine, who I loved with such joy, who struggled her way into this world, was now struggling to stay in it. I would every so often sweep her long red hair away from her face and tell her a story about when she was young. Some of the things she would say hoping for some kind of response. There was none.

After a short while things turned ugly and she took a drastic turn for the worse. A code was called and we were told we probably will want to wait outside the door. The nurse in me wanted to stay, but the mother in me knew I had to wait and let them do their work. I couldn’t watch what I knew was about to happen. It’s a hard thing for the body to go through when it is being resuscitated. Hell it’s hard on everyone involved. So as a parent – I don’t recommend watching – it’s a traumatic event and one that you can never totally shut out of your mind.

They managed to get her back and then I took my place again at her bedside and just stroked her arm and head the way a mother would pray for a miracle. Praying she would awake from her coma and say “mom I want to go home”.  After hours and hours of sitting and watching machines make endless amounts of noise. She would move and then the nurses would come in and make her more comfortable.

Then again she became unstable and a code was called again. And again we were shuttled out of the room. This time it took a little more time, a little more medication and a little more of my little girl. I know that because I’m a nurse. Then I really began to pray. This had been the 3rd code of the night. Things weren’t looking too good and I had a bad feeling in my gut that told me what I didn’t want to face. The probability that she wouldn’t come out of this alive.

As a parent, or even better as a mother the love a mother is capable of is incredible. It’s like this vast amount of emotion welled up inside of your heart that bursts every time you see the life that was given to you for such a short time. People don’t get this type of love unless you’ve given birth. But I really don’t think parents get this unless they have lost a child. I call it “breath-taking love”. When I would look at Brittany sometimes I would just think to myself – “God she is just so beautiful and I’m so lucky she is mine”.

But in reality she really belonged to God, and he just gave her to me for a while to care for. To love endlessly and to mold her into the wonderfully funny young woman she grew into being. Without a doubt I couldn’t have been more proud to be her mother. She taught me so much about how people should be more accepting of others. How to pay it forward. How to not be judgmental towards others.  She truly blessed my life beyond measure.

At 6:55 am October 13th I said goodbye to the only thing that ever really mattered to me. My daughter died after complications from a seizure. I walked out a heart-broken mother. An empty shell of a person who has existed for 4 years in this life that I hadn’t planned on. That I would have never planned on.  My life ended on that day. The life I knew. The life I thought I’d have – all gone.

I miss my girl more than I can say. The words don’t even come close to the pain that will always be there deep within my heart from her absence. Some days it’s just plain hard to function. Some days it’s all I can do to just get through the day. My life has been so empty for so long. It’s hard to see the future some days. But I do feel something different now. Life is creeping back. My heart is healing, but the wound is still very raw and at times it feels like it’s going to kill me.

I feel I am capable of letting love back in my life, and back into my heart. I never imagined I’d be able to trust love again. For me love always meant loss of some kind. But I have a faith that is strong and I  believe in a God who wants more for me. Wants me to be who I am supposed to be now. To love again. To feel passionate about life again. To feel like I matter in this world.

So I am here and I am present and I am ready.

until next time