If you’ve just joined us, you may want to read “Our Story” first, then posts #1-14. Welcome, there’s endless HOPE…
Journal Entry Thursday January 2, 2014 – Ok, here goes, back to the tough story. Pulled out my old little journal from 2 years ago and gonna just start typing where I left off, almost 8 weeks ago, where I wrote about the Sunday. On Sunday (post#12) Brandon was quite sick, and truth be told, all afternoon while I was out with “important obligations” instead of home with him, I was feeling horrid about it. I was in torture, somehow knowing I was in the “wrong” place, unlike Friday night (post#8) when I managed to be exactly where I needed to be. But moving on…now Monday…
Monday September 19, 2011 – A bunch of our family was still in Whistler, 2+ hours away, for a long weekend celebrating my brother-in-law’s birthday. It had been planned for months, but we hadn’t planned to join, for some reason we just didn’t feel we should go. As it turned out Brandon was pretty sick, so it seemed for the best we had stayed home. My husband had the day off work so the night before we had planned he would take Brandon to the clinic first thing Monday morning. At lunch time I called home to see how it went, but they hadn’t gone yet as Brandon wasn’t really feeling up to it. That made me feel even more urgent about it, cause if he doesn’t feel well enough to go, then he’s very sick and needs to go! I went online to use the trusty symptom checker, and it advised to see doctor. They made it to the doctor, who did their best I’m sure, with the info given and symptoms present, and he was diagnosed with an ear infection & throat infection. He was prescribed an antibiotic, something for anti-nausea, and ear drops – made sense to us, would deal with the infection, the vomiting from last night and the headache from just being sick. I heard later that after the doctor visit he had to be practically carried up the stairs to his room, that was pretty unusual, but still didn’t seem like “911” material, because we had antibiotics now – kids always spring back after 24-48 hours of antibiotics. So, we continued with the usual practice of the “B.R.A.T. diet” after nausea…bananas, rice, aeroroot, toast.
By the time I got home from work that evening he’d had digestive cookies, 1/2 a Gatorade for electrolytes, 2 doses of antibiotics and 2 doses of ibuprofen…but the headache and fever were still there. I spelled off my husband and began pouring a cool bath just like when the kids were little. I told Brandon to get his swimming shorts on cause he was going in the bath and I was going into the bathroom with him to make sure we got that fever down. Our daughter had mentioned to me that she thought he looked really skinny that day – and as he lay weak in the bath I noticed his stomach was very thin too, but he was a very slender/athletic build on any good day, and hadn’t been eating much the last while as he was sick. I fed him some crushed ice as he sat in the cool water, and kept a cool cloth on his forehead. At first he was too tired to eat ice and I remember saying something about “if you don’t get eating this so we can get this fever down, I’m gonna have to take you to the hospital!” I don’t remember exactly what he said, whether he wanted to go to the hospital or he really didn’t want to go, or that he just wanted to die, he felt so crappy – sounds morbid, but that was just how he had talked when he felt really sick, for as long as I could remember. He ended up coming around, the fever was gone and I helped him out of the bath so he could crawl back in bed. Probably in my mind it was all logically under control – I had done my job, good old-fashioned fever break, he’s on the brat diet, 2 doses of antibiotics, he’ll be on the mend this time tomorrow night – no need for concern even though he still seems pretty weak and sick. Brandon was feeling hopeful again and, true to form, was talking about how he sure hoped he could go to school in the morning…silly guy, so worried about missing stuff and getting behind.
His heart was so soft that evening, all the defenses were down. We had previously had some tense months where, when I was pushing him to do things he didn’t want to, it would sometimes come down to “you have to because you’re part of the family team”, he would comeback with “family doesn’t matter” and we would argue that stubbornly – and it hurt. When I was tucking him into bed that night tho, wiping his brow again with a cool cloth, I quietly said “This is when family matters, when we take care of each other, right?” He replied “Yes, family matters mom, you were right”. As well, for sometime now when we would say we loved him, he wouldn’t reply – it was awkward I suppose. This night when his little sister popped in to say “Goodnight, I love you” and when I told him I loved him, he replied “I love you”. It was a rare and beautiful thing to hear, it meant so much to us that night, and means the world to us now.
Once he was tucked into bed I just sat with him for a bit, then decided to read him a proverb I used to read to the kids. I couldn’t exactly remember where that verse was in the book of proverbs so just started reading aloud at chapter 1. Eventually I read to chapter 3, and came to the section of verses that I would read when they were little, to bring peace when they were upset at night or couldn’t sleep. He was still patiently listening, so I took the opportunity to keep reading. This seemed to be a teachable moment, because reading wise proverbs to a teenage son about living a good and pure life, written by the wisest man who ever lived, is a rare opportunity that must be seized, right? I paused every couple of chapters to make sure he wasn’t sick of me reading or being in his room – cause you know how 15-year-old boys are, they like their space and independence. Whenever I paused, he’d ask “Are ya done?” Then I’d ask “Do you want me to be?” Each time he just shrugged or said “I dunno”….which I knew was direct translation to “keep going”. That night I ended up reading him 10 chapters of the Book of Proverbs, it felt like such a special time. Finally, when my voice was tired and my eyes weary from reading with just the hallway light shining in a bit, I asked “Do you want me to go now?” but he replied “You can stay”. I curled up by his right foot, wrapped in my fuzzy blanky…then a while later, about midnight, I went to bed…but left his door and our door open a bit…just like when they were little…to keep an ear open for him in the night…
Even though we never dreamed that would be our last night on earth with him, it felt to me like the things we had struggled with had melted away and been resolved with forgiveness and realization of a genuine care and love for each other.
I have no more words, so let me leave you with the verses I had looked for…I would always be sure to read 21+24 together to the kids. I just realized as I’m writing this tonight, more than 2 years later, that maybe the rest of those words below were for me to understand…a reassurance just before the storm, or sudden disaster, that there would be…endless HOPE…
Book of Proverbs – Chapter 3
21 My son, do not let wisdom and understanding out of your sight, preserve sound judgment and discretion;
22 they will be life for you, an ornament to grace your neck.
23 Then you will go on your way in safety, and your foot will not stumble.
24 When you lie down, you will not be afraid; when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet.
25 Have no fear of sudden disaster or of the ruin that overtakes the wicked,
26 for the Lord will be at your side and will keep your foot from being snared.