Monday, May 16, 2011

Survivor's Guilt

You can read this sad Gorilla story here. But don't. Because, well, it's sad.
A baby dies. A mother cries. A family buries it's baby.

So unexpected, so unfair, so unnatural.

I dreamed a life for Jack, one which he'll never experienced. We bought hockey jerseys which bare our last name for the little man who would never wear them. We bought shoes he'd never walk in, and bear suits he'd never wear. A life for him was planned out, dreams of sports, and giggles, of schools, marriage and babies of his own. Then the impossible happened.

I feel guilty that I couldn't protect Jack, even though it was some tiny, microscopic germ that got him and there's nothing more I could do. I wish there was more I could have done, I wished I could have told him I loved him over and over. I mean, I did, but it seems like there would never be enough time to say this, even if he had lived to be 1000 years old.

I carry a lot of guilt within me. I feel guilty about wanting another baby. I feel guilty for wanting the life I wanted before we lost him- to continue to dream of a little boy who will hold my hand because Jack can't. I dream of little girls with ribbons in their hair riding tricycles on the driveway. I fantasize of Christmases where our hearts hurt but aren't broken. Of mother's day where I can hold a living baby in my arms, of catching my husband making goofy faces to elicit a baby giggle. To celebrate 1st birthdays, rather than mourn the loss of a little boy who will only ever be 8 days old.

Any mother worth their name would give their life for their child. Sometimes, illogically, I wish it was me who died. I'm not old, but I'm not young either. I've had a good run at things, and I've had the chance to live. Little Jack didn't get a fair shot at life, his was over when it had barely begun.

There's a lot of guilt to be the one left standing after tragedy. I've said it before, and I'll say it again. It hurts my heart to dream of other McBabes when Jack was our dream just a few short months ago. To know I have to give up on this "version" of our dream to live the version which will see us with more children.

I feel so badly that Jack never got a chance. That Jack never really lived. It's so sad to to be the one surviving, to live because he couldn't.

11 comments:

Kelly said...

When you talked about how you've had a chance to live and it's not fair that Jack didn't, I could relate. I was reading cards today and came across something like, "a lifetime of happiness." I told my mom, I can never buy something that says that anymore cuz you never know how long a lifetime will be. It SHOULD NOT be only 8 days or 2 months.

I feel so much guilt over things too. I feel guilty that I'm on vacay right now and Adam has been on my mind but not in an overwhelming sense like he is when we are home. It makes me feel awful. I wish there was a way we could not feel the guilt, but somehow, that's impossible. Many hugs to you momma.

Tiffany said...

Of course, I read the gorilla story- glutton for punishment I guess. Sadly, I feel like I can relate. I feel like I walked around for weeks (and sometimes still do) with no purpose. Just wandering and waiting for my baby to start breathing again.
I still feel a lot of guilt too. I am a nurse and couldn't protect my baby from her germs either. I am a nurse that works with weakened immune systems, I should have known. I think the guilt will stay forever.
THinking of you!!
PS- I went to the post office today. It will cost $5 to send the cookbook to Toronto.

Maria said...

I don't think I've ever commented your blog posts before. It's not been very long since I've followed your blog.

The guilt your feeling is the guilt we all feel. It's a feeling all BLMs have. I'm sure that even if we did EVERYTHING....ALL we could to protect and cure our babies in our loving bumps, we would always make up another thing to feel guilty for. Maybe it's just a mother thing. We have to feel guilt because we have to say it's our fault.

I've been told by others to try and push out the questions in my head that begin with the words IF and BUT.

I try.... but it's no good!!!

hugs to you .... and a floaty hug to Jack.

Mary said...

I couldn't read the gorilla story. But I've heard about it. Its a good/sad story.

Guilt...I know it all too well. We (BLMs) all do and its normal. But Jack knows you're not trying to replace him. And, in a way, he continues to live on the body of the child he saved. I know its not what you pictured for your son, but Jack's short life saved another.

There's nothing wrong with dreaming for other kids. I think its natural. We want the chance to be the mother we should have been for our lost children.

Hugs to you momma!

Brooke said...

Oh yes, I feel much the same way. Wanting to have another baby, and so conflicted about that longing because to have another baby will mean admitting that we'll never have Eliza, when there's still nothing I want more than her. It's an awful place to be, this in-between moment. But I dream of happy Christmases, too. And then I feel guilty about it.

little vitu's mom said...

I live with this guilt. Feel it every moment. Love to you.

Keleen said...

Ugh...guilt. I think it is part of the process. I struggle with it every day. I hope to write about it some day, but it has just been to hard for me to put into words. Yuck, yuck and yuck! Thinking of you!

Lia Larson said...

I saw the gorilla story posted on FOL facebook page today...Sad. We know how she feels.

I understand the guilt; for many months I felt extremely guilty. I still do now & then but I'm trying to let go of that before it eats me up completely.

Monique said...

I'm sorry you feel guilty, it's a terrible emotion. I wish it were different and that Jack were in your arms, where he belongs.

New Year Mum said...

Such a sad story... brought tears to my eye. It's so natural to feel guilt... so painful. I live with the thought that the intensity of the pain of grief is related to how strongly someone can love and their compassion for those they love. Your love for Jack is there in every word you write and another child will not lessen that love... just help it to grow. So painful in the meantime. Love to you always xoxo

Becky said...

I have thought about it over and over that if someone had to die that day in surgery, why did it have to be Liam. Why couldn't he have stayed with his daddy and I left instead?
and the guilt just eats a way at you, ugh!
Thinking of you and Jack always....

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