What do I mean by “pressing my reset button?”
Well, this is something that has become so apparent to me over the last 11 months. I need resetting every 2 months, it used to be every other day, then every week, but now I can last up to 2 months…progress I guess. What I mean, is that I have to see a medical expert to help reset my relentless ‘looping’ mind. This can’t be emotional support from friends, family or even Lee, it has to be a Doctor, specialist or professor. It has to be someone that can sit with me, listen to me cry and tell them my repeated fears that “I missed something…”
I listen to them, they reassure me that Harry just had a cold, like any other toddler his age. He had a little cold, was a little under the weather and a little cranky…like any other 20 month old can be. But, it seems no matter how many times I am told “You could not have seen or predicted this from happening…” it still sits hard wired into my mind.
Is this because I am his Mummy? Is it because Harry was in my care and I put him down for a nap that afternoon? Or is it the maternal imprint your baby leaves on your heart from the moment they are known to you, to the moment you hold them in your arms for the first time and to the moment you have to say goodbye. Is it that the bond is so, so strong, that you can’t get your own head around what has happened and that surely… “Mummy should have known something was wrong?” I don’t know, but I do know that I flip flop from listening so intensely to every word a medical professional tells me to, getting caught up in a never-ending loop of anxiety, guilt and blame. I can be ok for weeks now, I somehow manage to retain what they are saying to me for longer. But, recently I got stuck again…literally I got completely stuck, just like when you listen to a CD and the song gets stuck, that’s exactly how my mind works. I can be going along and then all it takes is one bad moment, one conversation that something innocently is said, but to me I hear it completely differently. It really doesn’t take a lot to flip my mind back to blaming myself, maybe it will always be that way, maybe I will always need the reassurance of a doctor to tell me “I could never have known.”
This time, I got so stuck, that I couldn’t really talk to anyone, I even lay in the bath reading Harrys post mortem report again, googling every word (I know…don’t Google!) But, it’s the only way I can try to understand the medical terminology. To the specialists, they see nothing out of the ordinary, other than a cold. What I see are lots of big words, lots of talk of respiratory tract infection and the word pneumonia. To the specialists, they don’t see this at all, they see a toddler that had a cold, just like many toddlers of his age and they go down for a nap every day and wake up. They see an unexplained death, a total tragic event, that couldn’t have been foreseen and cannot be explained with current medical knowledge. They tell me that if I had brought Harry to the doctors that morning and said, he has a bit of a cold, yucky nappy and won’t eat his teacake… they would have said, take him home, rest and fluids. Even in the report there was no sign of any bacterial infection that could have been treated with antibiotics, it was just a virus…the bloody common cold.
So why, did our baby boy go down for a nap and not wake up that day? No one knows, maybe one day with research we will have an answer, but for now all we can do is keep fighting. So, can you see how I get myself caught up in this viscous circle of doubt, guilt, blame and anxiety…would this change if I did have an answer? I honestly don’t know…
As if grief isn’t hard enough, it decides to throw all this into the mix too. I think to date, this has been the most debilitating part of grieving for Harry, it works deep into your thoughts and stays there, eating away at your confidence as a Mummy. It takes away the self-assurance I once had as a parent, the belief that “Mummy knows best…” it’s all taken away from you and takes so much effort and energy to start to trust in my ability and instincts again.
So, this is me and my reset button… I’ve just been reset again and feel I can function more today. Just a 10 minute chat with my doctor and I have been reset. Yes, I cried, I blamed myself again, but to sit and hear the words “This is not your fault, you could never have known…” somehow helps me feel more at peace again in my own mind. It doesn’t take away the relentless screaming of my heart, my empty arms or the unrelenting ache for reality to be different and for the impossible to come true.
If only I could go back in time for you Harry and reset our lives to the crazy, messy, chaotic fun we used to have together. I miss you so much, my funny little man! xx
“There is no right speed at which to proceed with one’s healing.
There is no one path that serves everyone all of the time.
Not every answer, is everyone’s answer.”
Jen – aimhappy.com