Too much time alone on the anniversary of a loss is unbearable. I spent last Friday alone surrounded by the memorabilia of a son who is gone from me. My husband was gone because he had to attend to other important matters that could not be delayed. My daughters work. My mind is not capable of shutting out the obvious times of the day nor what the date has now become for us. Beginning at noon my heart began to race uncontrollably just two hours after the last time I ever spoke to Brandon on the phone.He had called us at 10:10 and he talked to us for 17 minutes. I still have his cell phone. I checked my blood pressure which was also elevated in spite of the two types of blood pressure medication I take. Note: at precisely the midnight hour on March 6, 2009, my heart was irrevocably shattered and has never been the same as it was before “the call.” It was then that my heart problem began…my blood pressure and crazy heart rate.
I believe in prayer even though the obvious prayers of a mother for the health and well-being of her children were never answered as I had hoped. My son is gone…dead by the world’s understanding…but alive and well, as is my Christian belief. As a result of Brandon’s death, my heart has been stricken with a disease unknown to me. This sickness is a by-product of grief. I truly believe that my racing heart is grief stricken forever. I truly believe that one day my grief will be healed but not in this life. I long for my life to be over on the worst days and there isn’t a thing that can be done about it. Why it’s been six years! Shouldn’t I be “over it” and moving on with my life? The dumbest question ever. A mother may be able to cope but she surely never forgets and sometimes it takes her down. I thought of this as I spent the night in ICU. My heart raced and pumped erratically and the first round of intravenous medication did not quiet its ranting and raving. So it was told to me that a second round was in order but I would have to be under close supervision in case my heartbeat and pressure was slowed too much. I spent an uncomfortable night in the ICU where again I was left to my thoughts occasionally interrupted by the usual protocol for this type of emergency. Somewhere before dawn my heart began to respond to the second round of Cardizem.
The brief stay became a part of my uneasy heart. My son was a nurse and was working toward his nurse practitioner license. There were several male nurses on duty and I couldn’t help but think of Brandon. I thought of the tenderness and care my son would have provided for me, his mom. We have two caring daughters who also fit into the tenderness and caring category, if and when my husband and I need it. Those days are closer than than they are farther.
While I answered many questions none of them came close to what should have been asked as far as my emotional state of mind, although there was that one question; Do you plan to harm yourself or have you ever attempted suicide?????? The nurse apologized for asking such a question and kind of chuckled and said she had to ask because it is a valid concern for any incoming patient. I wanted to SCREAM “Do you know what suicide has done to me, and tell her that my illness cannot be fixed…that SUICIDE did indeed play a part in my condition…that death stole one of my children, that I can’t feel good about it even though as a believer, I am not supposed to grieve as the world does.1 Thessalonians 4:13-18
My sad heart will one day be weary from its constant state of brokeness and well, I will not have to worry about the thunderous romping inside my chest. Science has proven that our hearts can actually stop when we have lost a loved one. Grief is a killer. Our emotions are tied to our hearts. Emotions just happen as a result of actions or words around us. We are supposed to be able to keep them in check, to have self-control ,the last of the Fruits of the Spirit listed in the Bible, Galatians 5:22-23. Somehow I cannot control the feelings of longing and missing my son, Brandon. My heart has no control over such things. It needs medication just to be calm. Dates and remembrances seem to have control over us. I wish I could conquer this sorrow that builds and releases and afflicts my heart. It embraces the remnants of each child born to me.
Here is a picture drawn by Brandon for a book of poetry in which we collaborated. Who would have guessed that the shadowed figure or the cut-out in this picture is Brandon…and my heart. Below are two online articles about how grief affects our health.