Tuesday, April 12, 2011

A Boy Frozen in Time

I read a story in the Chicago Tribune today about a 27-year-old boy. I say "boy" only because he never had the chance to really be a boy as he has been a quadriplegic from the time he was 3 years old.

There's just something about a tragic story I can no longer run away from. I'm not afraid of hearing sad stories or reading about sad events. Before Andrew, I would turn my head, turn the page, or turn the channel when something tragic would appear. If I didn't change the channel, I certainly didn't cry. I just didn't have a basis for understanding the magnitude of loss or deep sadness. Now, I have nothing but compassion for anyone in loss situations. In a big way, that woman lost her son and her son lost his life that day.

My mom sent me an email just a week ago about another stillborn case. Their pastor's brother and his wife lost their child at 36 weeks to stillbirth. When I read that, tears flowed. To think about the road they are now walking just makes me so vulnerable. I know the exact numbness they are probably experiencing at this very moment. I'm none the wiser, but after 4 months, I have had more time to process.

Four months post loss, I still read every single Faces of Loss post from women who also lost their babies. Maybe as Caroline wrote in an email to me recently, it's because misery loves company. We love to know there are others out there struggling. Though may I clarify that we don't wish sadness upon anyone, but like to know we're not alone in the dark. It makes us feel like we're part of a community who isn't trying to hush our every complaint or yawn at our repeated conversations about how sad we are when the rest of the world wants us to move on. Even more important, we also need their example of life after tragedy. We need to know hope does come.

Back to this story in the Tribune. This "boy" became paralyzed at the age of 3 when he was involved in a car accident in which his mother was the driver. A defective carseat was to blame and he was awarded a large settlement. Maybe I need to type that again. His mother was the driver.

Can you even imagine?

Well, I personally love that question. It's usually the first thing that comes to our minds when we hear of a tragic event. There's no doubt it was on the minds and out of the mouths of people surrounding our story. Can you even imagine what that couple is feeling or how they're coping with the loss of their firstborn?

This "boy" has now ran out of settlement money. All that settlement money for being paralyzed for his entire life-- gone at age 27. He wants to die, but the problem he's having is that no one he has asked will pull the plug on the ventilator for him. He cannot physically pull the plug himself. The thought that your very own son would want a Dr. Kevorkian to take his life, devastating. Though he is physically alive, he wants to die. To hear those words from your very son. My goodness. His mother is his caregiver and she must deal with the guilt everyday of having her boy frozen in time. Though he obviously has the capacity to learn and grow, he has experienced nothing physically past his 3 years of life.

Not a baby loss mama, but definitely a mama with loss. And probably loads of guilt for something that wasn't her fault. But like I've said many times before, I bet you wouldn't be able to tell her that as she recounts that tragic day on repeat for the rest of her life.


Kelly said... [Reply to comment]

I can't even imagine what she's going through. This is why to me, a loss is a loss is a loss. No matter what. She is definitely dealing with it. Even after all the tragedy us BLM's have been through, I'm sure all of us cannot even fathom what her life is like and the guilt she has. Just terrible.

LauraJane said... [Reply to comment]

That sucks. Totally sucks.

You're such a great writer.

bibc said... [Reply to comment]

thank you for linking to this story. i am always interested in end of life ethics and i think it's def something that needs to be talked about. i really enjoy your writing and i think you are right, that mom is babylost for sure.
i love how she says she will support him whatever he decides. i cannot believe she is talking about whether he lives or dies, but it goes to show you how amazingly strong a mother's love is.

Ben and Katie said... [Reply to comment]

Oh man this post made my heart sink. I have not lost a child but my man suffered a traumatic brain injury and i have dealt with much loss! I don't like that word but it is something i deal with every day. I sometimes deal with the guilt to of maybe I should have been the driver of my car and not Ben, maybe I should have put my foot down and said no we are not going out to dinner...i think these things but I cannot dwell on them because it would just take me to places I don't need to go to! We cannot blame ourselves, we must pick up our boot straps and move forward! I have Jesus on my side!
"you never know how strong you are until being stong is the only choice you have"
i have been following your blog for a bit and appreciate your honesty and take on life!

Jill said... [Reply to comment]

Oh wow, what a tragic, tragic story. Thank you for sharing this with us, it just BREAKS my heart.

Becky said... [Reply to comment]

what a sad, sad story. That poor boy having to live like that. I can't even imagine what that mom is going through on a daily basis.
Thanks for sharing