Thursday, March 10, 2011

Scar Tissue

When I'm trying to describe what the aftermath of losing my son is like, I often use a lot of gritty morbid metaphors. I don't think anybody is fully going to understand the scope of losing a child unless they do it themselves. There are just so many things that thanks to the limits of the English language, I just will not ever be able to put into words correctly. But I try to paint a picture. I mean, I'm a writer, that's what I do.

I once had to describe to my mother what it was like living in my house without my son. The best analogy I could come up with is that immediately after having him and finally getting to bring him home. It's was as if a bomb of toys, and teeny socks, and pacifiers went off and the debris of that bomb was spread everywhere. Every room of the home, so many nooks and crannies of our cars were even filled with things for him. It was a bomb I didn't mind and actually kind of loved. There wasn't an aspect of our home that wasn't inundated with his presence. When he died, we quietly, diligently, but sadly went about the process of picking up the debris he left behind. Some things I was pretty good about parting with. I donated one of his two cribs without too much attachment, gave a bunch of his toys to his physical therapy department (we still have tons of stuff that was his). Somethings were too 'radioactive' to move or even touch. The footstool/storage bin in the living room is still filled to the brim with books and toys that were his most used. The crib in our room hasn't budged an inch since Chris first assembled it. The bin of toys sitting on Chris's nightstand is something we both refuse to move from its rightful spot. Neither of us have vocal said so, but its just something we know we won't move just the same. There are other things I feel I should get rid of, and am paralyzed to do so sometimes. I have this little box on the bathroom counter filled with hair doodads and makeup. Somehow, his little toothbrush is in it. I can't move it, hell I cry just trying to touch it. In the same box, there was a little filter belonging to one of the feeding systems we used to feed him via a port in his stomach. A few months ago, I found it, knew I should throw it out, couldn't, and started sobbing. That's all in effort to say that we are contaminated with Ukiah radioactivity that we will never willfully be rid of, and to me that's a good thing, wierdly.

The other metaphor I  use to better describe the state of things, my state of things, is that losing a child  is a lot like having been a cardiac bypass recipient. My father had one close to fifteen years ago, so I know of what I speak I guess. First of all, you come out the other side, and you're not really the same. Sure you do things in essence of feeling and acting normal and like you were before all this happened, but in truth, you're not really, and you're never going to be. You walk around with this deep scar on your chest that nobody knows about, or sees immediately.  But it's there, and you can always feel it, you're always aware of it.

My big issue at this stage (other than pregnancy hormones and nausea) is that I end up revealing that chest wound in really strange ways sometimes. Today, I had to get some blood drawn for my prenatal blood panel. No big deal, or so I thought. The whole morning I'm fine, its business as usual, no big deal. Then I get to the blue padded blood drawing chair and I start to get anxious. I hate needles, I hate watching my blood get drawn, I hate the weird rubber band thingies, I hate making fists. I can't stand any of it. And then suddenly. I was struck be this thought of the multiple times my son had his blood drawn, and the multiple attempts at threading an IV into his vein, and the one hospital stay where they put in an arterial IV as well and were deciding whether or not to sew in a PIC line and all the utter shit he went through and never had a say in and I lost it. I not only showed my scars to my phlebotomy technician, I felt as if I had reopened them and started bleeding on her. I hate being that visible about this, and yet, embarrassingly enough, I'm achingly visible. I sometimes feel I'm begging to show them to anyone who wants to see. Maybe I'll grow out of that impulse and things will get easier. Maybe those wounds will ache less and I'll feel more inclined to keep them under wraps. It's hard for me to say.

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