So I just want to take up a little bit of time to an emotion in this grieving process that I assumed I had skipped or maybe in a way I just thought I was too “well balanced” to have to deal with, and that is the big ole nasty GUILTY feeling. Now I;m not sure why I thought I would be the 1 lucky person to be spared this heartbreak but I was definitely counting my lucky stars. That is until it really hit me……..I have been kicking my own ass since the day my son died behind feeling guilty.
Let me start out with a little bit of history so that this may be able to help you as much as it is me. I had a son in July 2009….his name is Bryce Jaden, he was a perfect little 6lb 12 oz boy….a tad early, not enough to label premature though and my pregnancy was not anything extraordinary or just unbearable. I took him home in the normal 2 days just as wonderfully healthy as I could’ve ever hoped for! We had no issues at all he was GREAT!! Especially for a newborn, he ate and he slept, and he loved to sleep so I was very very blessed. Well when he was about 8 weeks old, I noticed that the left leg was kind of twitching….just randomly. Then it went on up to his left arm, and when I noticed it in his left cheek I was about to call an ambulance to take us to the ER when my mom walked into my house and she just took us instead, no big deal right? I just didn’t know what that jerking was, it made me uneasy….and I never could’ve prepared for what it ultimately turned out to be. When we arrived and went into Triage it just so happened that it was happening again and so I told the nurse to look at him. She looks down and before I know it, she has SNATCHED my 8 week old baby up, still in his carseat mind you, and the next thing I can really remember is being in an emergency operating room I guess it was. Apparently when this jerking reached to his face, he had stopped breathing!! I DIDNT EVEN KNOW!! So they intubate him and breath for him all the while im a brand new mom balling my eyes out and I really do not have a single clue as to whats going on. Long story short, he had a gotten a little bit of a cold about a week prior to this. Keep in mind hes only 7 lbs and not much of an immune system has built up yet so this cold for an adult or even a small child had actually made its way to becoming viral meningitis which in turn caused meningiencepholitis, and this caused him to have these jerking bits which turned out to be none other than seizures. So we stayed in the hospital for about a month and a half and he was sedated for a lot of it and I couldn’t touch him or hold him…..I could only look at my precious boy. I couldn’t do anything except be there. Well when we were finally released and the seizures had done their damage (destroy 75% of his brain, only %25 on the right frontal region was still in tact), they diagnosed him with CP. I was still hopeful, I mean we only use %10 of our brain anyways and my baby….he is a GENIOUS! I just kind of “knew” he would come out of that like a SOLDIER and still be smarter and more handsome and awesome than any other kid I knew.
Until I got him into a daycare that did all the therapies that he needed, I didn’t even realize how much we were spending time with PTs, OTs, STs, etc. We had therapy for everything, you name it we would make it if their wasn’t already one for it. Still, even with all of the special meds and equipment and therapy, I don’t know if I was in denial or just didn’t care that something was wrong with him bc in my mind, there wasn’t. Over the course of his life we spent a lot of our time in the hospital, for various procedures, minor things floppy voice box, gtube, sleep studys, adenoids, tonsils…..and each one of these stays would turn into much longer than anticipated because he would hold his breath like a lot of children do when they are upset or in pain and trying to communicate that with you somehow. The issue was that he would hold it for so long that eventually he couldn’t control it to get it back. So we would always stay abt a week longer than originally planned because they wanted to monitor him and make sure he would be ok.
We loved our time together so it really didn’t SUCK SO BAD as one might think. I actually enjoyed most of our time up their….because it was just that, mommy and baby time. We both LOVEEEEEEED music. NO MATTER WHAT, if either one of us ever at any point was upset of frustrated, turn on some music and our frowns immediately turned upside down!! 🙂
So for the next 4 years I did what any mom would do and we had a lot of dr appts, therapies, other unexpected issues, unexpected surgeries, unexpected, unexpected, unexpected. To me it wasn’t a chore or a burden as I guess my friends saw that it could be because he was my first and only child. I only knew how to be his mom and so this is what his mom did with him.. That was my normal. MY life,parties, friends, hanging out with all the kiddos together, you know young adulthood, had turned into OUR life, which eventually became just he and I. Still it didn’t bother me 1 bit! I loved it! He loved it! We LOVED IT!! Ive never been so self assured even with 1500 friends to have my back as I did with only him. I didn’t ever really ask for a babysitter unless I had to work and then I only left him with my mom, not bc I didn’t trust the adults…..but bc I didn’t trust him or his illness I guess you could say. If he threw up I didn’t need to get a call to come get him and bc my mom and I were around him more than any1 and we knew back and front how to handle every little thing that happened with him, it became a 2nd nature. It was almost like when I saw other babies and they didn’t randomly puke I was like a bit puzzled and then id snap back into reality and realize oh that’s right all babies don’t do that.
FAST FORWARD………he turned 4 on July 26th 2013…..we had his bday party on Aug 10th, 2013………….he died Aug 18th 2013. I never saw it coming! It still shocks me now thinking about it. The sat night (aug 17) before I laid him down to put him to sleep, we took a lot of dorky selfies….we loved taking pics together…..we couldn’t get enough lol! Hes always been a good sleeper, he didn’t fuss when I laid him down if he didn’t go to sleep right away, he would just listen to his lullibyes and eventually drift off into a lovely nights rest! That night I remember so vividly, he looked at me in my eyes……..EYE CONTACT!! and just started crying, but not like a fussy whine….a lip quivering chin quivering cry! It was as if something had hurt his feelings! Almost like he already knew that would be our last goodnight kiss, selfie, song! Like he were trying to tell me “mommy don’t put me to sleep yet, I want more time with you….just let me stay up and hang out” he would have been fine to stay up another hour or so, but bc I wanted to make sure that he was very much on a schedule….8:30 it was bedtime.
When I go into his room to get him ready for church that sun morning………it seems like I kinda had a bit of an idea before I ever touched him, bc I didn’t just go to get him up……I checked his feet to feel the temp, and then put my hand on his back to feel his breathing, all though his feet were freezing, and I didn’t feel a lift in his chest, I didn’t put that all together until I picked him up and from that point until his funeral it is all SLLLLLLLLOOOOOOOOWWWWWWWWWWW MOOOOOOOTTTTTTTTIOOOOOOONNNNN!!! I bang on the wall to get my moms attention and it doesn’t even seem like I banged at all………just seemed like a quiet thud but somehow she got up and I guess she must have known bc I just looked at her while I was holding him, and she just started to cry, and she grabbed him from me and held him and hugged him while I called 911. I am on the phone w the dispatcher and im giving him cpr…..the paramedics arrive and they don’t even get into the house before the medic looked at me after glancing at him and said “:im really sorry!” I have never heard this loud shriek that I heard next……..it was me! It was like my voice went completely out, and only the screaming/cry/shriekesh/desperate sound came out! I was I don’t even know what my exact feelings were to be honest…………I can name some of them, but others I don’t think I am aware of. Well of course as it happens in a death, the funeral home along with the coroner came to get him. 2 days later I received a call from the coroner to tell me, it was complications of CP…….basically he had stopped breathing in his sleep (sleep apnea)but before he could tell me that, I asked him, am I in trouble for this? Is it my fault? Basically in a way, did I kill my son, without wording it that way. He assured me it wasn’t my doing, so I asked him if this was common among CP toddlers…..to just die out of nowhere, he said yes. I left it at that. I didn’t even realize that I was feeling guilty about it from the get go. I am only just now realizing how much guilt I am feeling, 9 months later. I went on an OCD mission to find his autopsy report on line or cause of death because I wanted to see it in writing that I didn’t do this to my baby! And I certainly have not wanted to tell anyone that I want to see it bc they say what for and I cant even hardly admit out loud that I feel responsible for it. I only beat myself up in my head…..CONSTANTLY without even realizing it the whole time since his death, if I messed up in any way at all, for ex forget to buy milk when I go grocery shopping, inside my head says you killed your son! You killed him. You didn’t deserve him and that’s why he was taken away from you! Your a Shitty mom and he deserved much much better! And he did deserve the world this is true and I definitely don’t know what I did right to get to have him, but I just was happy I did!! So within this last couple of weeks, it has just been eating away at me (it being guilt aka my own self) and I just haven’t said it out loud, I never did plan to. I hoped to ignore it and let it go away. I mean I know I didn’t kill my son. But heres the thing about a parent feeling this guilt after their child dies………it still feels like you did kill him, because if nothing else, you certainly didn’t save him….so ultimately I killed him. MY OWN WORST ENEMY is……….drumroooollllll pleassssssssee…………TADAAAAA!! YOURS TRULY!! Myself!! Finally I had to tell someone how I felt and luckily for me (not her) I had recently met a lady that lost her son about a year before I did., so I knew even if she never felt that way, she was the only person who was going to understand how or why I could even start to tell myself that I did in fact kill him. She has been a big help in this unexpected life that I have had and for that I am soooo grateful and blessed!! God does do everything for a reason now doesn’t he!!! That being said..
I feel guilty even now, but as soon as I was able to get it out of my own head and say it out loud, it became very clear to me that I only feel guilty and responsible, because I couldn’t change it, so he still died! Basically, im no expert, but I was looking everywhere to find some type of story similar to mine that would help me deal with this feeling, or at least not feel like a sociopath for having those thoughts…..and I just didn’t find any blogs or anything that was specific enough for me to relate to. Granted I didn’t look at every blog ever made, but I did decide to write my own, so that maybe we can help each other. Just writing this all down in detail is helping me.
I LOVE YOU ALL AND GOD BLESS!! ❤
RIP & RIL BRYCE JADEN WINTER
MOMMY LOVES AND MISSES YOU SOOOOOOOOOOOOOO MUCH!!!
You are my sunshine, my only sunshine! You make me HAPPPYYYY! When skies are grey! You’ll never know dear! How much I love YOU!! PLEASE DONT TAKE MY SUNSHINE AWAY!!! – our very fav song to sing together!! 7/26/09-8/18/13