Monday, April 27, 2009

Love, Life and Expectation

This I wrote in a sorta book I call "Hi". In writing my thoughts, feelings about our son we lost, my wife's ordeal and reflecting on myself during these years now passed I thought it might help others
 if I shared it. Life on earth does have its twists and turns.
At the age of 32, I lost a son. He became ill very quickly, unexpectedly and I, as usual, was not at home. However, even though he was almost reaching the age of 3, we spent a lot of time together. I would take him with me nearly everywhere I would go when I was home. This sweet, loving, warm, caring young child was such a joy, happiness in my life. Through his eyes I saw so much that I had forgotten to notice or feel. He put me back in touch with so much each moment we shared seemed to enrich and fill me with love for all around me. This child was beautiful in every sense of the word. I would take him to business meetings, the golf course, getting our haircut, all the things we do daily in our lives, and often we would just drive around. We would stop to watch ducks in a pond, he would see a cloud float by and make me stop and look, notice other children playing in a park or at a mall and we would stop so he could play and join in the fun. He would take my hand, tug on it, say come on Daddy spin this or push me higher in a swing and I would. Regardless of where we went, he always had this raggedy ole blanket with him. He carried his “blankie” everywhere, dragging it along in his little hand, occasionally it would slip and he would reach down and grab it before he took another step. He slept with it, ate with it, chewed on it, tossed it, stepped on it, I mean that “blankie” was a mess! A couple of times I saw him let another child touch it, not hold it, just touch it. If they tried to take it he would hold it tighter than ever, nobody was gonna take his “blankie”. He wouldn’t even let his Mom or the maid wash it. Nope, that was his. I had a daughter who at the time of his death was at the age of 6, just 3 days prior to her 7th birthday. My daughter was precious in a precocious sort of way. She still is too. She went with us sometimes, but not often, she preferred to be and do Mommy things. She wore Mommy’s makeup, shoes, and dresses, the things little girls love to do as kids to look like adults or their Mom. My son and I did the man things or what I perceived as such. We played ball, hit golf balls, wrestled, drove fast up and down hills that made our stomach and head almost queasy. We did all the stuff women and more specifically Mom’s hate to know about. We’d spit, go wee-wee wherever the urge hit us. Yep, we were kids my son and I, just as happy as we could be enjoying our moments, sharing our love, a boy and a Dad filled with pride and love. Then I received a call very early in the morning at the ranch, where I was at the time, from a close family friend. He said my son was in the hospital and I needed to get there as quickly as possible. I asked him what happened. He said my son was in a coma, something that occurred during the night and the doctors were not sure of the cause. A deep sinking feeling came over me and I said Lord I ask you, please don’t let this happen, allow my son to live. Immediately I got on the phone to catch a plane as quickly as possible. I called my friend back and asked him if someone could meet me at the airport. I asked him to please stay very close to my wife and make sure my daughter is in good hands and told him it was her birthday in a couple of days so tell her I’m on my way. As I traveled to be with those I loved my feelings, emotions, thoughts ranged from a deep pain to protecting and making sure my daughter, wife and son were all going to be ok. Somehow, someway, I would get God to understand this just isn’t the time for him to take my son from this earth. I prayed, looked up toward the heavens, told God you have kept me on this earth and I know you, know your power, know your strength, know your love, so please, please help me, help us, make my son well, I ask you in the name of your son, amen. When I arrived, my friend met me and as we drove to the hospital, my friend had difficulty in saying anything. He had hugged me as we met. I said thanks for being here, being close for those I love and being my friend. I was now going to be the strength to get us all back to where we were, a family, all together, safe, protected. I was preparing to handle whatever we had to face. When we arrived at the hospital, I first went to my wife, put my arms around her, her face wrought with pain, anguish, I held her tightly and said I’m here. She said something and I somehow knew, felt, this was going to take all the strength I had within me. She said, what did I do wrong? I hugged her tighter, said you did nothing wrong and asked my friend to stay with her while I spoke to the doctor and went in to see our son. The doctor was our neighbor so he was standing close by when I turned to him and asked him to step away with me so he could tell me exactly my son’s condition. He told me my son was on life support, no apparent brain waves, apparently his brain had been without oxygen too long before the EMS technicians got to him. He told me he already had 5 specialists in neurology, nose, throat, allergy and anything related to what could have caused my son’s esophagus to close during the night. I asked him if he had any prognosis as to what condition my son is in and if he could come out of this coma and have any possibility of being able to function? He looked me in the eye and said in his medical opinion and that of all the specialists your son can only live as long as we keep him on life support. I looked him deep in his eyes, I knew this man, this Doctor, knew he also knows my son, felt his pain, felt his sorrow, saw the tears in his eyes, somehow feeling how he wanted so much to save my son and couldn’t do it. I put my arms around him, said thanks for all you have tried to do and I know you did all that is possible on this earth. He then said it had to be some type of viral infection, unable to identify or classify in any form known medically. I told him I want to see my son I understand all you have told me now I just have to be with my son. He said we have only kept him on life support so you could get here and the decision is now yours. After you see him let me know what you wish me to do. I said I will I need time with my son. I saw my son, sat beside him on the hospital bed, his face peaceful, calm. I took his hand; tears in my eyes as I rubbed his forehead, leaned down, kissed it and whispered I love you so much. I sat there telling my son all I felt and knew. I said God loves you too, my son, and you will be so happy, safe, warm and live in our heart as an angel in heaven. I kissed him for the last time on this earth.

I had expectations I would see my son grow to be an adult, share all his pain, joy as he ventured forth in his life. This was not to be it changed when he passed away and I could no longer be with him on this earth. We form expectations and when they are not as we perceive, it has a dramatic effect on our being. When I became aware of my son being ill I trusted, had faith and believed in God, yet I couldn’t understand or comprehend any reason for him to die. My mind began to ask questions, why should my daughter have to face this at such a tender and early age in her life, why did my wife have to feel so much guilt, pain in the manner in which he died. How could the God I knew, trusted, had faith in his love, care and power take my son away from me. When these questions started is when I began a process of closing down my heart to feel, know love. My friends, family, ministers all tried in a sincere way to make me understand some meaning, reason God had taken my son. I couldn’t hear, listen to anyone, I was mad, hurt, my heart had closed to any feelings in my love for God. I functioned during this time and truly felt I was strong protecting my wife and daughter from their pain. In reality I was lost, confused, so mixed up I was useless to anyone especially those I loved. I was actually wallowing in self-pity, no longer could I grow in love I could not even know love if it slapped me in the face. This was the most vulnerable time in my life since I was a child. My mind had taken over and I was very capable of rationalizing anything to anyone. I had more reasons in the form of excuses than most people could dream of in a lifetime. I didn’t turn to alcohol or drugs not because I was strong but because I believed I was impervious to any need that dull my senses. I was lying to myself as well as others. I was a wreck and really had no idea I had crashed. I made more mistakes during this time in my life than I had time to correct in a hundred lifetimes. The irony is I really thought I was doing fine. I was more self-centered than any egomaniac you have ever met and I stayed this way for years never once knowing how really screwed up my life was. I was the epitome of total success in failure. During this, my wife and I had another son and daughter. I went through the motions of being a father, husband, son, brother and friend but I was destroying friendships, turning away from those who loved me and I should love. I was, without question, the dumbest, smart person you ever met. The only thing I learned during this, and that was at a price, came from all the countries I traveled to on business. For a number of years I was in a foreign country nearly every month. My wife and I separated but didn’t get divorced until over 5 years later. A lady I loved and lived with became pregnant. We had a son but it was almost 2 years before we married. I was horrible during her pregnancy; blamed her so much it was a miracle she gave birth to this gift of God in the form of another wonderful son. I was such an idiot I had no idea how wonderful the gift really was at the time. In the same manner and way I was with my other children born after my son died I was going through the motions of being a good father more than being a father filled with love. My condition remained much the same during my marriage. My wife was supportive when my first wife became very ill and underwent numerous operations; she was always caring and warm with all of my children. I spent days and nights with my first wife in the hospital until her sisters could come and be with her. My first wife, after a long and hard fight to live, finally made a decision she could no longer handle the pain and exist only with life support to keep her body functioning. Her mind was clear, even on numerous drugs and steroids she remained lucid and communicative. We had always remained friends through all she had experienced and gone through she always believed in me. She had more faith, love in me than I realized until I was with her during the last hours of her life on earth. We talked and I massaged her feet, ran my fingers through her hair, moisten her lips with a damp cloth as she tried so hard to speak. She had no fear of dying and we even smiled knowing the wonder and beauty of where she was going. There was a soothing calmness and peace about her which made me feel happy for her knowing she would finally be rid of all her pain and suffering. She whispered she had visited with our children the day before and felt they understood and accepted her decision. I held her hand, brushed the hair back from her forehead, kissed it then told her with one exception it was like my time with our son when he died. We had never really discussed anything about my last moments with our son before this moment. We talked about her seeing our son again and I asked her if she would be my angel too, she smiled, said I have always been your angel you just never felt it because I never could tell you. She said it is time for you to go I have someone waiting and I will tell him hello for you. Then she added something, almost as an afterthought, she said you go find happiness too. I leaned over, kissed her for the last time, squeezed her hand and turned to leave just as a nurse came in and she told her to turn these contraptions off. She had not said she loved me, nor did I say I loved her but we shared more LOVE in that moment than many can have in a lifetime of “I LOVE YOU”. As I walked out of the hospital, I was thinking how strong she had always been and I thought I was the strong one. That was the beginning of my road back to my heart.

Expectations are in our perception of what life, love, being in love and loved is going to be and mean to us. When something happens to change expectation, it can have a tremendously traumatic and devastating effect. Our awareness of how we formed a perception can be just as helpful to enable us to maintain, hold, share and stay in touch with our heart when something happens to change what we expected.

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