I keep coming back to the last article I wrote with my mother, and her message of “be honest with your children” when it comes to the big stuff in life. Having lost her mother to cancer—feeling as though she lost valuable time with her—is something she carries with her to this day. There’s got to be a way to be honest with your child, no matter their age, but sitting here, fresh out of the hospital, myself, I’m struggling with the right message to present to my own. It was only in recent months I admitted I was sick and hadn’t been well for some time.
Sometimes it feels like too much, and at the end of the day, there’s a sweet face looking up at mine to ask “What can we do?” A small question from him to get a gauge of where the night will lead. Will this be a night where Mom can participate or where Mom needs rest? He’s only 5 years old, but he’s feeling this, too, and I’m wanting to know just the right thing to say to help him understand.
As a caution to well-meaning adults, please be honest with your children.
The ringing in my ears grows louder with this fresh visit to the hospital. Tinnitus is the technical term for the sound that only I hear inside my head, and the louder it gets, the harder it is for my mind to ease and for sleep to come. My first-born son is well aware that something isn’t right, but he knows no other way for his mother to be, at least, after his baby brother was born.
Between my two children, four pregnancies were lost to miscarriage. Only one of them I’d named. I’d named her Hope because that was the gift that she was giving to me. I felt this new and inspired version of myself. She was hanging on the longest until, well, she wasn’t. The day I heard there was no longer a heartbeat was like getting the news from the teacher in the Peanuts cartoon—this sort-of muffled, trumpet sound rippling over the air in front of me. And the color fell from my face. I wanted to cry, but there wasn’t a tear. My husband was there and we were given the room to collect ourselves. I can’t say that I recall what we spoke of or if we spoke at all.
Months later, another pregnancy came to fruition and, at first, I felt sadness and worry. A sort of sweet melancholy gripped me in its arms. I’d wanted this for so long and, though Hope was gone, this was a time to start fresh.
June 2018, at 38 weeks, I met our second son and there it was all over again. Hope.
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