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Tonight I was reminded of yet another change wrought by the loss of my little boy. While out at our local deli with my girls, Abby and Lori, Lori accidentally closed the sliding door of the freezer on her sisters hand. Abby’s immediate, and deafening response stopped me dead in my tracks. I instantly felt the same fear I had upon my discovery of Rees after the accident… memories and feelings of helplessness instantly flooded me and paralyzed me.
Before Rees’ accident I was always very level headed with my children concerning injuries and pain. Sam counts on my measured response in those situations, and up until Rees died I always kept my cool when things went wrong. The day Rees died, in one terrible moment, my imperturbable nature instantly eroded and I was a frantic mess. I knew CPR, but couldn’t remember the timings. I couldn’t remember where my phone was. I was completely and utterly helpless. I literally lost the one thing I counted on the most in every other situation: my composure.
It happened again. Seeing my little girl, wailing in pain – her left hand gripped around her wounded finger like a vice, stopped me cold again. I dropped the ice cream I had in my hands. I looked around, maybe hoping to find that composure that seemingly has not returned since Rees died to no avail. When I finally “came to”, after what felt like minutes but was more likely no more than a fraction of a second or two, I pried Abby’s hand from her finger and I saw a large, bright, purple spot already formed and I immediately feared the worst. I ran her home and told her Daddy was going to take care of it, and we fix her right up. I thought for sure a hospital visit was imminent – the specter of which I feared as I hold a dread of returning to the very place where my world was changed irrevocably.
When I walked through the door I saw Sam, told her about the immediate bruising and grabbed some ice and heard a sound I shouldn’t have: laughter. Sam questioned Abby as to which finger hurt and Abby pointed to her finger and there was no bruise, nothing. Completely and utterly clear – not to mention hardly swollen. Upon closer inspection she found the offending purple spot; a patch of purple marker ink that Abby had gotten on her hands an hour before while doing her homework… The only real bruise that existed tonight was the one on my psyche. I literally have so much fear about my helplessness to protect my children that it factored into my reality and I confused a blotch of magic marker for a contusion. Tonight was a valuable lesson that cost me nothing more than my humility, but reminded me that in the new reality that is my life*, I now know I need to factor that fear into the equation.