Monday, August 31, 2009
Awhile back I went through a rough few weeks during which I just couldn't fall asleep at night. Instead I would lay in bed and images from Charlotte's life would flash through my head--not pleasant images. Holding her down while they placed IVs, having her so sick and pale she could barely stay awake, her hair thin and her eyes sad. Seeing her white hand on the blue sheet as the doctors tried-again-to place an arterial line. Her fevers of 105 and above. Those horrible, endless nights trying to force her to leave her C-PAP alone, the hateful mask smashed against her little face forcing air down her lungs all night long.
I would lay there for hours tense and exhausted and so, so sad. So heartbroken. Charlotte had so much more than her fair share of pain.
I went to a psychologist and told her my whole story, and told her I couldn't sleep because all I could think of was Charlotte in pain. I was hoping she'd offer me some blessed ambien, but she didn't. She said "But can't you just see Charlotte watching you and saying 'Oh mom, relax. I'm fine." And that's all it took. I slept better, immediately. Well, that night anyway.
While I was pregnant with Charlotte, Zar and I were primary teachers for a group of 5 year olds. Right after she was diagnosed, we were in Primary and during singing time we learned a song that went, in part "My life is a gift, my life has a plan, my life has a purpose, in heaven it began..." and I would repeat those lines to myself over and over as if Charlotte herself was singing it for me, reminding me that she just wasn't some "accident."
I teach a group of 7 and 8 year olds now. On Sunday we sang that song again, for the first time in more than four years. It came right back to me. Only this time I noticed the end of the song, instead of the beginning. It goes "And I will be happy on earth, and in my home above."
Charlotte was happy on earth. I am so grateful for that. She loved dancing and books and the school bus and dogs and her grandparents and stroller rides and baths. She loved life. And she's still happy. The only difference is there is no more pain. No more needles, or arterial lines, or C-PAP or haircuts. I'm just happy she's happy.