Blue.

"The rise of Orion in the night sky, combined with the approach of the equinox, is a dire portent. Soon it will become cold, and frozen water shall fall from the sky."

One could say there are a myriad of things that send chills up my spine. After all, this gal fears heights, free-fall, clowns and spiders when she's not dodging sharks, carnies, cheese cloth and Achilles tendon paper-cuts. Add all of this up - the sum still falls miles short of my new found fear of blue.... More specifically the blueish hue which paints my son's lips when he slips into oblivion.

My oldest was the one plagued by health problems. From the day he arrived on this planet during the wildest thunderstorm imaginable:  jaundiced and subsequently enduring misreported blood results, we grew to expect red carpets rolled out from those familiar gates of the E.R.. The second was to be easier. We told ourselves this over and over again. It has to be easier this go-round, for we know what to expect. We had never been so mistaken in our relatively young lives.

The first time he cried... I mean really cried... A legitimate reason, not some silly plea for milk, the cat's tail, or his blankie..... He slipped away. I will never be free of the branded image of his lifeless body in my panicked arms. The grayish tint of his skin where every miniature little vein seems tattooed against the most delicate rice paper. And those lips... those chapped, helpless, pouty blue lips. My lacking instincts led me from one room to another in silent horror - I had long since quit screaming and simply needed to act. It seemed like days between scooping him up and placing my lips to his between the softest, yet most effective chest compressions my trembling hands could manage. The slightest hollow gasp brought streams of tears to my face. This was to be the very beginning.

His brother had witnessed all of this, and from time to time, he still vividly relives the day "his brother was dead". He is the fragile one - the empath who feels his Mama's pain and struggles to find explanation in his journey... even five years later. But the little one - the little one is full of fire and confidence. Where Van is wise beyond years, Dax is fearless beyond his own. Perhaps that is one trait that drives me into despair when he breaks. He has endured test after test.... his heart, brain, blood... to no end. There are no answers beyond "extended breath holding". Then there are the unexplained seizures. The day he came out of one of these ominous spells without senses - his eyes, unfocused - for a moment, I felt as though I were hearing through his ears - all that resonated was the distant clamour of thousands of overlapping conversations - as though heard from somewhere underwater and far away.

They feared him at preschool. The teachers would meltdown upon witnessing what had to be calmly explained away over and over again. They didn't want to touch him for fear that he'd shatter into a million precious pieces. My heart ached for him for two long years. It was getting better. He was becoming vibrant and brilliant. Perhaps not articulate, but an almost prodigy of all things sports and physical. Charming, devious and hysterical all at one moment. He grew out of it. My god, they were right... he grew out of it!

Yesterday, my little clouded world came crashing down upon me like one of those hellacious breaking waves immediately followed by an undertow that pulls you out to sea. In the confusion, you swim furiously towards the ocean floor repeatedly - life slipping from your frantic body. Things go eerily calm. We think it was the altitude in the mountains. We probably desperately cling to the very same. It had become such a routine, Papa immediately handed him off to me as he gathered up Van for yet another heartfelt explanation and offering of some level of comfort. I stood out in the crisp night air with my baby in my arms. His tongue hanging out beyond those familiar blue lips.... the grey skin, the rolling eyes, the stiff and slightly shivering limbs. His eyes close and his body finally forces the slightest breathe. I am completely silent as I remain stoic and in a feigned stance of accomplishment. Behind the walls, my heart is racing as though it will explode if it doesn't recognize the beat through the tiny chest pressed against my own.

As though it were as mundane as grabbing a glass of water, I carry his now-breathing little frame back inside and place him gingerly on the bed with his blankie snuggled up close. I ask him a few questions and he answers each perfectly. His final words before drifting off to sleep: "I love you, Mama. Thank you." I kiss his sweet little sweaty forehead, turn around, walk back beyond the threshold and weep.

These experiences.... these moments.... they don't hold a candle to the trauma so many parents (make no distinction between biological and those who have proudly stepped into those shoes) and loved ones have been forced to endure because of circumstance or even worse, genetics. So many creatures have known the sense of ultimate responsibility for another - or for multiple others.... so many are blessed with an intangible instinct of protection and action. For others, no level of instinct or education - medication or experience can ever take away the fears that send us into our own personal hell when we close our eyes each night.

It never gets easier.... only more familiar. It is said that we are only given what we can handle. What we are capable of. The most unspeakable tragedy is turning one's back on that. There is no easy road in this life. To think that way is to either exude arrogance or indifference. I never imagined I possessed the capacity to love so many so incredibly deeply. I suppose that is because my heart is...well...capable of it. I will never make any apologies for that, nor will I ever have any regrets. Sometimes in the midst of chaos I forget my own heart.... Those blue lips are an ever-vigilant reminder.

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Kitty

Monday, August 29, 2011

Blue.

"The rise of Orion in the night sky, combined with the approach of the equinox, is a dire portent. Soon it will become cold, and frozen water shall fall from the sky."

One could say there are a myriad of things that send chills up my spine. After all, this gal fears heights, free-fall, clowns and spiders when she's not dodging sharks, carnies, cheese cloth and Achilles tendon paper-cuts. Add all of this up - the sum still falls miles short of my new found fear of blue.... More specifically the blueish hue which paints my son's lips when he slips into oblivion.

My oldest was the one plagued by health problems. From the day he arrived on this planet during the wildest thunderstorm imaginable:  jaundiced and subsequently enduring misreported blood results, we grew to expect red carpets rolled out from those familiar gates of the E.R.. The second was to be easier. We told ourselves this over and over again. It has to be easier this go-round, for we know what to expect. We had never been so mistaken in our relatively young lives.

The first time he cried... I mean really cried... A legitimate reason, not some silly plea for milk, the cat's tail, or his blankie..... He slipped away. I will never be free of the branded image of his lifeless body in my panicked arms. The grayish tint of his skin where every miniature little vein seems tattooed against the most delicate rice paper. And those lips... those chapped, helpless, pouty blue lips. My lacking instincts led me from one room to another in silent horror - I had long since quit screaming and simply needed to act. It seemed like days between scooping him up and placing my lips to his between the softest, yet most effective chest compressions my trembling hands could manage. The slightest hollow gasp brought streams of tears to my face. This was to be the very beginning.

His brother had witnessed all of this, and from time to time, he still vividly relives the day "his brother was dead". He is the fragile one - the empath who feels his Mama's pain and struggles to find explanation in his journey... even five years later. But the little one - the little one is full of fire and confidence. Where Van is wise beyond years, Dax is fearless beyond his own. Perhaps that is one trait that drives me into despair when he breaks. He has endured test after test.... his heart, brain, blood... to no end. There are no answers beyond "extended breath holding". Then there are the unexplained seizures. The day he came out of one of these ominous spells without senses - his eyes, unfocused - for a moment, I felt as though I were hearing through his ears - all that resonated was the distant clamour of thousands of overlapping conversations - as though heard from somewhere underwater and far away.

They feared him at preschool. The teachers would meltdown upon witnessing what had to be calmly explained away over and over again. They didn't want to touch him for fear that he'd shatter into a million precious pieces. My heart ached for him for two long years. It was getting better. He was becoming vibrant and brilliant. Perhaps not articulate, but an almost prodigy of all things sports and physical. Charming, devious and hysterical all at one moment. He grew out of it. My god, they were right... he grew out of it!

Yesterday, my little clouded world came crashing down upon me like one of those hellacious breaking waves immediately followed by an undertow that pulls you out to sea. In the confusion, you swim furiously towards the ocean floor repeatedly - life slipping from your frantic body. Things go eerily calm. We think it was the altitude in the mountains. We probably desperately cling to the very same. It had become such a routine, Papa immediately handed him off to me as he gathered up Van for yet another heartfelt explanation and offering of some level of comfort. I stood out in the crisp night air with my baby in my arms. His tongue hanging out beyond those familiar blue lips.... the grey skin, the rolling eyes, the stiff and slightly shivering limbs. His eyes close and his body finally forces the slightest breathe. I am completely silent as I remain stoic and in a feigned stance of accomplishment. Behind the walls, my heart is racing as though it will explode if it doesn't recognize the beat through the tiny chest pressed against my own.

As though it were as mundane as grabbing a glass of water, I carry his now-breathing little frame back inside and place him gingerly on the bed with his blankie snuggled up close. I ask him a few questions and he answers each perfectly. His final words before drifting off to sleep: "I love you, Mama. Thank you." I kiss his sweet little sweaty forehead, turn around, walk back beyond the threshold and weep.

These experiences.... these moments.... they don't hold a candle to the trauma so many parents (make no distinction between biological and those who have proudly stepped into those shoes) and loved ones have been forced to endure because of circumstance or even worse, genetics. So many creatures have known the sense of ultimate responsibility for another - or for multiple others.... so many are blessed with an intangible instinct of protection and action. For others, no level of instinct or education - medication or experience can ever take away the fears that send us into our own personal hell when we close our eyes each night.

It never gets easier.... only more familiar. It is said that we are only given what we can handle. What we are capable of. The most unspeakable tragedy is turning one's back on that. There is no easy road in this life. To think that way is to either exude arrogance or indifference. I never imagined I possessed the capacity to love so many so incredibly deeply. I suppose that is because my heart is...well...capable of it. I will never make any apologies for that, nor will I ever have any regrets. Sometimes in the midst of chaos I forget my own heart.... Those blue lips are an ever-vigilant reminder.

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