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Parenthood (the difficult explanations)

Posted by becky on March 2, 2011 in From the Heart, Tribute to Stacy |

At long last, I watched the show I have heard so much about, Parenthood!  I now understand why this show is favored by so many of you parents out there. On the show last night the parents had to explain Asperger’s to their son, Max. This brought back memories of an explanation I had to share with my son a few years back. To share this with you, I will roll by the clock and put you in the moment.

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As we go back in time, my son is 5 years old, started Kindergarden a few weeks earlier.  My husband of 19+ years is fighting a battle with terminal cancer. I am just trying to hold the family together in as normal an atmosphere as possible.

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The date is Friday, August 20, 2004, a day forecasted to be full of sunshine. Needless to say, we are talking about the weather, not what the day we hold for us as a family. Approximately 10 days earlier in a visit to the Oncologist in Atlanta my husband and I had heard the dreaded, “just a matter of time”. This was not something we came home and discussed with our son.  But he knew, he had overheard the wispers and comments as he played nearby.

*

Our son had not been a stranger to his dad’s illness.  We were fortunate to be able to carry him with us as we traveled to and from numerous cities for consults and treatments. He had been a part of this journey since age 3.  Each trip we treated as an adventure, it really was for all of us. The adventure of a lifetime, looking for a miracle!

*

Back to August 20th, a few days prior, my husband’s health had got progressively worse. He was loosing the ability to control anything and I struggled to keep things as normal as possible for our son. We had discussed this, he was the main concern here, as normal a life as possible considering the circumstances. We declined to allow anyone stay help, we wanted to keep it just the three of us.

*

On Thursday night, I resume my spot, a spot I had made my own.  Over the past week or so I placed some quilts and a pillow in the floor in the floor in the living room, just at the base of the stairs coming down from our son’s room and within throwing distance of the couch. The couch reclined and was my husband’s place of choice. I often wondered if he was afraid to lay down in the bed. Anyway, back to the story.

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Friday, August 20th would be a day out of the ordinary, we already new that, school was out that day for some work day or something.  The usual routine of up by 7 a.m. and to school by 8 a.m. would not be the norm.  We had made no plans for anyone to come stay while I took our son to school, we were just going to take the day as it come. Let me just say, I was not ready for what the day held!

*

On the Thursday night our son carefully climbed on the couch to kiss his dad goodnight. His dad had become very sensitive to touch over the last few days and he understood to be very careful. I am not even sure his dad realized at this point his precious son’s touch. But off to bed our sweet son went and I went to lay beside him till he fell off to sleep.

*

My husband’s breathing had become very shallow over the last few days, you probably know what I mean, sometimes referred to as “the death rattle”. That is even hard for me to write now.  You see, my husband had a small little miracle pill he took every night around 10:30 p.m. or so. It was a sleeping pill the doctor had prescribed to help us both get some rest.  Just for your knowledge, sometimes as people’s health deteriorates they don’t want to sleep. I often wonder if its not just a way of get every minute of life they can.

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The miracle pill worked as usual, he drifted off into a deep sleep.  I spent most nights waking off and on running upstairs and checking on our son and checking to be sure everything sounded okay with my husband. Sometimes I would wash clothes, read or just stare at the walls until I fell asleep.

*

I had laid down with our son until  he went to sleep and then I settled down at some point on my spot in the floor ready to jump if anyone needed anything.  My heart was full, full of love and sorrow. Little did I know, little did I know.

*

I awoke on that Friday morning around 6:45 a.m. or so, immediately listening for my husband breathing. I heard it, he was still asleep.  I decided, given the opportunity, I could close my eyes for a few more minutes, no school today.  I did it, I drifted off to sleep. Around 7 a.m., I know that’s just 15 minutes later but you mom’s out there know 15 minutes can do wonders! As I awoke something was missing, it was extremely quite, oh no, I didn’t hear anything but my own breath. It had happened, the sound that I so dreaded to hear because of the pain that came with now I wished I could hear.

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I will spare you the details of what happened from there and get back to the parent’s explanation part of the story.  My son would wake each morning and at the top of his lungs call out “Mom, I’m up”, I always ran to his bedside to welcome him to a new day.

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Our son slept late that morning 10:00 a.m. or so. All things had been handled, the couch was empty. What a difference a since the night before. I sat waiting, on the sweet voice to call, what would I say? How would I say it? I knew God would provide me with the strength and the words. There it was, “MOM, I’m up”.  I climbed the stairs, trying to act as normal as possible. He lay there in his bottom bunk with that sweet, innocence.  I sat beside him on the bed as I normally would. I took a deep breath. It went something like this, “Sweetheart, I want to tell you something”. With questions in his eyes, he said “What mama?” As carefully as I could, I explained that, “Someone needed DA-DA more than we did, the Angels had came and gotten him and took him to Heaven, God needed him to help him”. My sweet angel looked and me and said “Mom is he coming back” and I just said “No, but I promise we will be okay, we got to have him for this long”. Enough said.

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As parents we are faced with very difficult situations. I share this with you because I want each of you to understand that with faith and the strength we get through our faith we can do anything!

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Wipe your tears and SMILE, we are okay, just as I promised!

XOXOXO,

Becky

4 Comments

  • Ande Norton says:

    Becky,
    Thank you for sharing your beautiful story. I can’t imagine how difficult those days were for you but I do agree that you were blessed to be able to share them as a family. You are an amazingly strong woman! We need to get together sometime and catch up. I love reading your blog because it helps me know the woman my childhood friend became. Thanks for the stories. Keep them coming!

  • amanda says:

    Becky,
    I am so sorry your family had to go threw this. It takes a very strong person to do what you’ve done and are still doing till this day.I know God will see you and Hampton -aka Ham threw this.Our blessings are with you.This is a beautiful but tragic story.Thanks for sharing…

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