Friday, October 19, 2012

A gift?

Paramedics and doctors tried to resuscitate Eva for 45 minutes before she was 'officially' declared dead.

I was with her for every single one of those 45 minutes. They stopped at 45 minutes because that is the limit for severe brain damage. And after she died I wished and wished and wished that I could have her back. I would take any amount of brain damage. I would do anything to hold her living, breathing body in my arms.

But what if they had been able to resuscitate her and she had been severely brain damaged. I know of parents, personally, who had to choose to remove life-support from the children they loved. What would I have done if faced with that horrible 'choice'. If she had never been able to take a breath on her own. If I never saw that sparkle in her eyes ever again?

I don't know what my choice would have been. Would I have chosen to remove life-support? Would I have chosen to keep her breathing with machines and no sparkle? I don't know. I never will know the answer to that question because I didn't have to live it.

But sometimes, sometimes...I wonder if there was grace in the way she died. So quickly. So suddenly. So perfectly.

And sometimes when I take my boys to swimming lessons I see children with severe difficulties.  I see children that are loved but I wonder if 15 years from now as I pushed Eva in a wheelchair to her tailored-aquatic-program where she could be weightless in the water for a while and I could have a break sitting on the side of the pool...would I think back to August 15th 2011 and wish that she had died that day instead of being trapped in this body with no sparkle in her eyes?

I don't know what I would wish for. I am not living it.

All I am saying here is that sometimes we look so much at the 'what could have beens' that we really want (like all my living children all together happy and healthy) that we don't look at the 'what could have beens' that we might not want (like Eva brain damaged and overweight in a wheelchair, with bad teeth).  It's not pretty these thoughts. Not pretty at all. And I hate even imagining this kind of possibility for Eva.

I'd rather imagine the happy ending I wished I had like her pulling through and being a miracle. A miracle with sparkly eyes and a huge smile. A walking, talking, swimming in regular swim classes miracle. But the truth is that the other is also a possible 'could have been' after 45 minutes of CPR. 

What would she have been like? The truth is I won't ever know. What is she like now? The truth is she is a beautiful child of God and she is beautiful in heaven. And, as much as my heart breaks for missing her...sometimes I wonder if her death was a gift. I feel almost sacrilegous writing this. Because how can the death of my child be a gift? (A word of caution here to my readers: never, never, never suggest to a bereaved parent that the death of their child is a gift-don't even suggest it to me even if you read this blog- because it's one thing to question it myself as I search for a glimmer of meaning in her death and it's wholly and completely another for someone else who doesn't understand the depth of my longing and grief to suggest it is a gift).

Of course, the best alternative would be for Eva to never have needed CPR at all but that is another path for another life. A parallel 'Life of Em' so to speak where my children are all alive and getting into mischief. A life, I know, that is possible, with God. But not the life given to me *sigh*.

But I do know of one gift that Eva has given me already, through her death, and that is the gift of Hope.
16 wks 3days of Hope.
We love Hope already and are grateful for the gift that s/he is already to our family.
We hope to meet Hope in April 2013.


  1. You do have a wonderful gift growing inside you :)

    To be honest this is something I think about often. I did CPR and it took 40 minutes for the ambulance to get here and they carried on working until the air ambulance arrived. When she was taken to hospital as they loaded her into the ambulance they managed to get a weak pulse. I often wonder what would have happened if she had pulled through, but more than likely even though I would have loved every bit of her she wouldn't have been the girl I knew before

  2. Don't - just don't.

    I think it is normal to think about other horrifying alternative scenarios, but that way madness lies. When I find myself doing this, and I have similar issues from that day... I try and stop myself. I think we have enough to deal with dealing with what actually happened, without having to contemplate how we would cope with other awful things.

    I suppose part of the temptation is that I have been told by others (and I am sure you have too) that it is better that Catherine died than that she ended up with horrible disabilities. But we shouldn't think about it - we should concentrate on coping with what happened, rather than imagining how it could be horrible but different.

    Big hug to you both xx

  3. Oh Em I think these things too...but differently because Camille died at full term. Many people discuss the fear of have a child with special needs. No one ever says I am so scared my child will die before they are born. I would much perfer the former than the later. I would prefer a living child. I don't think my husband would prefer and child who needed special care. He was a special education teacher and really know the challenges these kids face and their parents face on a different level. I just wish my daughter had lived. I just want you to know you are not alone in these thoughts. Sending love