I always felt like Jason was a wise old man, even though he died when he was five.

I always felt like Jason was a wise old man, even though he died when he was five.

When I started writing this morning, I realized that my daily musings are not nearly as relevant to me as what I just wrote about Jason. It is hard to follow that! I am glad that I was able to play tennis this morning. I feel as if I have bleeding scars reopened on my heart.

Now that the story about Jason is “up and out” of me, I thought I could let truly lit go! However, more and more trauma is still erupting from me.

It was when I started thinking about the experience when my mom was in the hospital that I had another trauma moment. I felt a stab of pain when I thought about what we both endured while she was in ICU for two months on a respirator.

It led me right back again to Jason. One of the sadder aspects to losing a child is the feeling that as a parent we have failed.

We have failed because we “could not save our child!”

Honestly, I believe this is something primal that has been programmed into a parents’ very psyche! A parent is supposed to have all the answers. Parents are responsible for their child (even an adopted child), and it is their job to keep their child alive!

When I shared my story about Jason, I mentioned how unsure I was about ever having children. I started out as a mom with no experience what-so-ever with babies. I was nervous and completely inexperienced.

Then, I reached the height of arrogance. I felt like I had actually saved my son from death so many times! I had kept him alive and with my “expertise,” and I would continue to do so! That might have had some truth, but in the end it made no difference!

I remember searching for an answer later on, after Jason had died. I asked our beloved cardiologist. He said, “Jason’s heart just stopped.”

That was it. He continued, “There is no answer for why his heart stopped. We don’t really know why a heart stops or even starts. It’s a mystery.”

It was later on, when I met so many bereaved parents that I realized the precariousness of life. I didn’t have to look for a surgeon’s mistake, or even my own guilt that something I could have done differently might have allowed my child to live. What about . . .

The little boy that choked on a microwave pancake and died? How did those parents go on?

Or, the child that “half-drowned,” and lived on in a state of vegetation for such a long time? What about the girl who suffered and died a slow death from a brain tumor?

Or, the teenage girl who was horribly murdered. The child who was a drug user, and committed suicide.

Worse yet, the teenage boy who killed himself with a shotgun in front of his own father! I could add at least a thousand more to this list!

There are no answers for me, only more questions. Throw your story out there, and grab it right back! Just writing this causes me unbelievable anguish! I heard parents tell all of those above stories!

When I was the child – it seems so long ago!

Once again, I need to go back to my daily ordeal with my 84-year-old mother.

There I was a few months ago taking on the responsibility to keep my mother going. My father kept telling me, “You are the one keeping your mother alive!”

I did know that if I weren’t there, she would not continue her brave “fight to the finish.” That much was true for me. She was on the respirator, and I was the only one there for her. My mom was having so much difficulty being weaned from that respirator. She was being given many drugs that were not at all helpful. She was fighting pneumonia, and it felt to me that she might never get off that respirator.

A tracheotomy was done, so now she was awake. She could not talk, and she had an uncomfortable nasal tube for feeding. She was on constant restraints because she was uncooperative and pulling everything out. She was totally aware at times of her awful predicament! Each day a weaning attempt was made. And each day it was halted due to my mother’s extreme, blood pressure fluctuations.

One night, I went onto my computer and researched “fluctuating blood pressure.” Something stood out to me. There was a small paragraph that mentioned tumors on the adrenal glands could cause blood pressure fluctuations. I remembered that five years earlier my mother had a scan and I was told she had some small, harmless tumors on her adrenal glands.

I called her doctor to mention that. He had wondered about it also, and he prescribed a medication to counter the effect from those possible tumors. The day after she took that new medication, Aldacton, her blood pressure stabilized. She began to come off the respirator for longer and longer periods.

I remember how I felt so useful and so hopeful. I was elated that my mother had turned a corner. And then within a flash of those thoughts, I was literally “flat on the floor” pounding it with anguish. I wanted to pull out every single hair on my head!

Here I was – super genius and devoted daughter, and I couldn’t save my own son!

My mom and I while she had a trach tube.

© Judy Unger and http://www.myjourneysinsight.com 2010. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Judy Unger with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

About Judy

I'm an illustrator by profession. At this juncture in my life, I am pursuing my dream of writing and composing music. Every day of my life is precious!
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  1. Christine Mc says:

    Judy, your writing is really helping me during my bereavement after the sudden unexpected loss of my darling mother. I am experiencing many of the same feelings you have.



    • Judy says:

      Christine, I am so touched and honored if I have helped you at all. Coping with loss is one of life’s great challenges, and knowing we’re not alone with it can make a difference. My mother has not died, but I miss how she used to be. You never had the chance to experience that gradual “fade out.” Sudden loss is a tremendous shock and I used to live in fear of that – of losing someone I loved suddenly. Thank you so much for your beautiful message. You inspire me to continue writing.


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