July 25, 2012
I lost a grandson a few weeks ago. His death was caused by a freak household accident that claimed his life within hours. No one had time to do more than react and pray for the best.
For once in my life I had no words of wisdom for my daughter, no remedy or solution that would make everything better. I stood by while she heard the words no parent ever wants to hear – her child, her baby, was not responding to everything the trauma medical team was frantically trying.
Her twenty-two-month-old child was dying.
One moment her fearless little boy was bombing around the house playing and climbing on furniture, the next he was injured and quiet. What should have been a boo-boo made better with mommy kisses, ended up a fatality.
I try not to relive the horror of that night, but I struggle to sleep. I wait until my eyes close from exhaustion and I wake a few hours later with a start. Sadness and fear chase me in my dreams.
I do not dare imagine what goes through my daughter and my son-in-law’s dreams. They were there. They saw the baby’s injury a second after it happened.
I’ve lost weight, something that has eluded me for years even though I faithfully follow a diet and exercise at every opportunity. I am hungry but after a few bites I cannot force myself to eat any more. What I do ingest does not stay for long.
I’ve watched my daughter leave behind a full plate of food on the table.
I know that the stages of grief are recursive, that right when you think you are progressing well onto the next stage you fall back onto the first step all over again. There must be a different set of rules of recovery when one loses a child. Maybe there isn’t any. The universe as you know it has been turned upside down.
Death should come after one has lead a long, full life. Death should be top-down and not robbing us of babies who have yet learned to create full sentences, tie their shoes, or use the potty like a big boy.
I believe in a good God and in an afterlife. That is some comfort, but it does not assuage the huge loss and the extreme regret we all feel. My daughter’s house is full of his and his three-and-a-half-year-old brother’s toys. His sister and brothers call out his name in play, and his parents set an extra plate at the dinner table before remembering there is one less in the house.
Our guilt is blanketed in “what ifs” and “only ifs,” but these do not change what happened – one fearless little boy left us all stunned in disbelief, frozen in our pain, cowering at the tragedy we all witnessed.