I don’t want to forget
Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate,
Your Nana had knee replacement surgery last week. The day of the surgery I stayed at the hospital all day with my sisters, my brother, and my Dad.
While it was fun to laugh and spend time with my siblings (something I don’t do often enough), there were moments I felt both anxious and strangely at home.
After your time in the hospital, immediately following Mommy’s nearly 10 week stay, I felt disconnected not being around the smells, sounds, and emotions of a hospital. I think it’s akin to Stockholm syndrome. It was like when Mommy and I moved back to Nashville from Seabrook Island in 1999. I felt landlocked and out of sorts. I felt like that after being released from months on end of hanging around hospitals.
Somehow I wanted to be back, while I also never wanted to be near one again.
When Nana was having her surgery I’d remember things from those months and shudder visibly.
“Someone walk over your grave?” asked my sister Lora.
“Bad memories,” I said. “Too many. I still get them.”
It still happens sometimes. I’ll smell something, hear something, get too close to the fear again. I shake, just for a second, before realizing its over, so long ago. Nearly 8 years ago. You don’t forget watching your wife cling to life, her body in full septic shock, while doctors shrug their shoulder unsure what to do. I haven’t forgotten spinal taps for Mommy and you, Kate. How you turned blue. How I begged the hospital to admit Max too, so that we didn’t have to wait for him to turn blue.
I read an article a few days ago that Mommy shared about people not understanding what it’s really like to be a preemie parent. You don’t forget the sounds, the smells, the constant fear – and worst of all the helplessness.
You don’t just get over it.
Every Tuesday I watch all 3 of you swim now. Mommy is there too. We cheer for you like you’re just like all the other kids.
But you’re not.
I still remember.
You two little ones were 10 weeks early. Strong for your size. But not ready to be born.
And Izzy, you lived without your Mommy for months – letting me learn to brush your hair and mismatch your hairbows. You owned that hospital, but shouldn’t have had to.
Anyway, that’s what I think about when I’m around hospitals. That’s what I think about when i see all 3 of you excelling in school and in sports.
You’re not like other kids. You’re survivors. Stronger. Bonded by it all.
I’ll never forget that.
I’m proud when you swim. Proud when you get good grades. Proud when you don’t. I love to hold you and smell you and remember it all.
I don’t want to forget.
Nana’s surgery went great and she has a brand new knee. I text her pictures of your swim meets and call her to tell her how well my three kids – each a miracle in their own right – did.
I love you,
Mon: biked 17
Tues: Ran 3.5
Wed: biked 17
Thurs: Ran 3