Tuesday, October 4, 2011

In A Year

I don't remember what I had for dinner two nights ago. I might be able to tell you what I wore two nights ago, but only if I dig through the laundry pile. Even then, it's iffy.

But I can tell you what I ate a year ago. I can tell you what I wore a year ago. I was wearing black yoga pants, an orange top, and a black sports bra. My customary post-work comfy clothes. We had spaghetti for dinner. We ate the spaghetti on yellow plates. Vividly, I remember this, yoga pants, uneaten spaghetti, yellow plates. The way the fork scraped across the plate as I cleared the remainders of dinner from the yellow plates into the garbage. The weather, eerily like today. Indian summer, blue skies, changing leaves and sunshine. Those stunning moments of clarity, broken by my husband shouting my name from the other room.

In six years of marriage and two kids, we don't use each other's names as much as we should. Him shouting my name should have been the tip off that something was wrong. My even-keeled husband raising his voice. I'm the shouter, the one who gasps with excitement, yells when startled, when I see a big spider. That's me, not him. Then there was the sound of his voice. Fear. And beneath it, an undercurrent of grief, of helplessness.

I froze for a minute, blinking like it was a dream. "I think he's choking!" And on the floor, a silent child with closed eyes, blue lips, and a pale face. On the floor, the scariest sight I've ever seen. Holding him, yelling for my husband to please call 911. Holding him, looking out the window like help would come dashing through at that minute. Holding him, in that one terrible moment actually thinking he was dying and wondering, wondering how on earth I could possibly go on. Then as teeth clamp down on my shaking finger, my finger trying to clear an already clear airway, the sudden smashing flashback to a red class cross, the instructor saying, "Never put your finger in the mouth of someone having a seizure. They'll snap their mouth shut on you." The purple-red angry teeth marks on my finger as I pried it out, "I think he's having a seizure, he's breathing, he's breathing, thank God, stay with me."

And he keeps breathing. Sometimes seizing. Mostly untroubled by being an epileptic two and a half year old. He'll never remember that night. Still, our lives changed, maybe just because we've never been so scared. Maybe we'll tell him about it. Maybe he'll outgrow all of this and we'll never have to tell him. But in my heart, I know that no matter how old I am, no matter how many troubles and losses I live, I'll never forget spaghetti on yellow plates.

Linked with Heather of the EO's Just Write

32 comments:

InTheFastLane said...

Oh Erin, I cried as I read this. Partly because of the vivid picture you created. And partly because I remember the same nightin my own house. And that yell when my husband called my name. I remember every instant of that night. And "there's something wrong!". 10 years and I remember. And here we are continuing on...right? Hugs.

Adam said...

Erin, I knew you went through this. I never really knew what it must have been like. Now? My heart's pounding, my mind is racing, and I feel changed somehow.

debi9kids said...

Oh my heart!
One of my dearest friends has a son with epilepsy and I'll never, ever forget the day they found out.... same as you, at home, unexpected and terrifying.

Kris said...

Wow. As I read this I felt like I could see it happening. I felt anxious racing to the end just so that I could find out that everything was ok. I'm glad that it is and think it was wonderful that you were able to share your story.

pinkflipflops said...

(((((())))))

Cameron said...

This is a beautiful piece of writing, and I'm so sorry that you went through this but so glad that you can document it for the rest of us to get a glimpse into your experience. I'm crying and sending so, so, so many hugs. xoxo

Adventures In Babywearing said...

So sick to my stomach reading this, a knowing sick, I remember too- black sweater and NY & co jeans- I wore it for 3 days.

Still a punch in the gut but duller... easier with each Year you remember.

Steph

Crooked Eyebrow said...

Instant tears as my heart sunk into my stomach.

Many hugs and lots of love to you.

Katy said...

oh my word, there are tears falling down cheeks. I want to come give you such a big hug.

Lyndsay said...

Oh Erin. This heartbreaking, but one of your best posts I think.

Now I'm sitting here thinking about my own "spagetti on yellow plates" moments... it's crazy what the mind remembers, isn't it.

I wish for you and your sweet boys, no more memories like that one.

xo

CJ said...

I had a similar experience and no, you never forget it. Brilliant post.

Bari said...

So scary, Erin. I can only imagine how terrifying this is. ((hugs))

Anna said...

Many, many hugs :(

lori said...

those seconds and minutes of the unknown are some of the most terrifying a parent could possible encounter. You are *so* strong, and Tommy is one lucky kid to have you as his mama!

Arianne said...

oh heart. <3 you.

Kaycee said...

Oh this made me cry. And my whole body? Felt stressed as a I read it. I knew the outcome, I knew Tommy would be okay - and yet, I just couldn't help the reaction. I am so sorry you had to go through this. I so hope Tommy outgrows it.

Denise said...

My first time visiting--here through the Just Write linky.

My heart and stomach lurched as I read. This is such an immensely powerful post. Raw. And one I doubt I'll ever forget. Thank you for sharing your experience and your words.

Kim said...

Beautifully, painfully written. Much love to you my friend.

Betty Anne Davidson said...

Wow. Wow. Hearing what other people deal with day to day always amazes me. I'll bet that day will always be as vivid in your memory as it is now. Thanks for sharing it with us.

quicklikeabunny said...

A beautifully sad story - so well written my heart is still pounding for you. Hug him extra tight tonight and breathe him in.

molly said...

Ugh, I'm crying. How terrifying for you all. It's strange what our brains remember during tragic events. I honestly think it's our brain protecting us, to remember those little insignificant things. Because if we relived the real fear, the real details when we thought of trauma, we would forever be stuck in a state of panic.

I will remember your yellow plates of spaghetti.

ZDub said...

I love you.

ZDub said...

And you are an amazing mom.

Jen said...

Tears. Your words here, although painful memories help others, even if it is just one mom or dad to know it is okay to wear your heart on your sleeve and that they are not the only ones.

I pray that each year that passes gets a little easier. You always remember but you heal a little bit all the time.

Hugs
Jen

Elizabeth @claritychaos said...

Oh, Erin. I remember you writing about his seizures but this description takes it to a whole other level of getting it. So scary. Here's hoping he outgrows it, my friend.

keli [at] kidnapped by suburbia said...

oh erin. your words made me gasp. seems like you always remember every tiny detail of those moments that you'd rather not remember. or have even had in the first place. love your strength. love your heart.

Tina said...

Came here through the Just Write linky. I cried as I read your post. The emotions you felt and are still feeling are so real. And a part of it is that it brought me back to a somewhat similar moment I experienced with my newborn daughter when she stopped breathing. Terrifying and pretty sure I will never forget the details of that day either!

Leah said...

Erin, I think about your family a lot. I think about how this must have been so terrifying and in a way, always will be.

I love you guys.

Thank you for writing this. It's so real. And I think REAL always helps others.

Heather EO said...

Oh Erin. Oh my...
how terrifying.

It blows my mind how our minds work. Fear really imprints us. And there is nothing like that kind of fear...of losing a child.

I will keep hoping he out-grows this.

This is beautifully written. Thank you.

Becky said...

This was beautiful and terrifying. Giving you and T lots of hugs.

Sara said...

Gah, another tear jerker! Oh, my heart. You (and Tommy!) are so, so brave. He is lucky to have you as his mama. Your FIERCE love for your little guy radiates through in this post.

Gladys said...

I just ran into your blog..and my heart is aching for you and your little guy...I know exactly what moment you are talking about..it happened to me 1 year and 10 months ago..and the fear is just as real today as it was then...a moment I will never forget. Hugs to you and your family.